Saturday, April 28, 2012

All About the Shipwreck - Confidence in the Lord (Acts 27)

Caesar Bireme

Purpose: To Teach about Having Confidence in The Lord, even in tough times.

Primary Scripture:  Acts 27: 39 - 44 - The Shipwreck "Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to run the ship ashore. So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders. Then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach. But striking a reef, they ran the vessel aground. The bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was being broken up by the surf. The soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape. But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land, and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land."

Opening Drill: "The Sun Will Rise Tomorrow"

Equipment Needed: Soft Foam "Swords" like pool noodles and a Few Teens / Adults that can be trusted, along with 4 or 5 children and some reward to give to those who win.

How to Play the Game: Make a circle around the first child player, and tell student that all they need to do is keep yelling, "The Sun will come Up," over and over to win.  If they stop yelling it, or even slow down, they lose the game.

Then have the adults "mess" with student in the circle.  Pushing him around from adult to adult, gently hitting him with the noodled (be careful NOT to hit the face, and not to hit hard - it is ONLY A DISTRACTION.)  If the student makes it to the end of the 30 seconds or whatever time you pick, they win a reward.

Continue as long as time, rewards and students allow.

Explaining the meaning of the Game:

In the game, you won if you stayed on mission, which was to say, "The Sun Will Rise Tomorrow." If you let your life, pain, distraction, people getting in your way, people pushing you around or anything else get in your way of doing God's mission, you will also fail. From Romans 8:28, Paul tells us, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  So it was in this game.  So it is in life.

Today's bible story is a scary example of someone whose life was a lot harder than this game, and he kept preaching.

This is the section of class where we do praise and worship.  You can do whatever you want.

Primary Verse: "Ship Wreck"

Setting up the Story: (Tell them this before you read the verse - show them the boat picture)

Paul was warned by the holy spirit, and by people sent by the holy spirit NOT to go to Jerusalem, but he thought that the warnings were not valid and that he could handle it.

Acts 21:3-4 (ESVUK) - "When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload its cargo. And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. And through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem."

When he was in Jerusalem, some of the Jews were upset with him for what he had done in Asia, by preaching the name of the Lord Jesus and the Gospel, and they caused him to be arrested, or more correctly put, taken into protective custody, except that concept did not exist in Roman law. Acts 21: 27-28 "When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and the law and this place. Moreover, he even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” 

The end result was that Paul was brought from one Roman magistrate to another, from one Governor to another, until at last he pleaded to be heard by the emperor in Rome, as was his right, being a Roman citizen.  Even though no one thought he had done anything wrong, once he had asked for the right, there was not way to undo it, and they had to ship him to Rome as a prisoner.   The entire time, leading up to his departure, he preached the word of God with much success to his Roman captors.

On his way to Rome, as a prisoner on a Roman Ship, the ship being filled with other prisoners and slave, this story happened:

READ Acts 27:39-44 above.  Take your time to explain the words and the feelings, asking them to relate it to the game you played earlier.

Making it Real:
Ask any or all of these questions
1) Have you ever seen or done anything when your life was tough, like Paul or like in the game?
2) Do you know what story we are supposed to be telling everyone? (The Gospel message about salvation by grace.)
3) Have you ever lived the way you are asked to by Jesus, even when it was hard?  Explain.
4) Are there people in the world today who are treated badly just because they love Jesus?
5) Should we love these mean people? (Trick question.  Yes.)

What do I do if I Have too Much Time for This Lesson?

If you Have time, you can let anyone who answers these questions, right or wrong if you would like, to play the game above after you finish with each question.

Playing a game is the key to understanding.  If they DO it, whatever it is, they will remember it better, and they will FEEL what the message is, rather than just hear it.

If you want to use foam swords, we have used these for kids, even when we are talking about Romans with swords, or we allow contact, as in this weeks drill.  Very good deal.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Stoning of Paul - Godly Friends!

The Purpose of the Lesson Plan: Teach the value of Godly Friendship as taken from Acts 14: 8 - 22 (MSG)

"There was a man in Lystra who couldn't walk. He sat there, crippled since the day of his birth. He heard Paul talking, and Paul, looking him in the eye, saw that he was ripe for God's work, ready to believe. So he said, loud enough for everyone to hear, "Up on your feet!" The man was up in a flash—jumped up and walked around as if he'd been walking all his life.

When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they went wild, calling out in their Lyconian dialect, "The gods have come down! These men are gods!" They called Barnabas "Zeus" and Paul "Hermes" (since Paul did most of the speaking). The priest of the local Zeus shrine got up a parade—bulls and banners and people lined right up to the gates, ready for the ritual of sacrifice.

When Barnabas and Paul finally realized what was going on, they stopped them. Waving their arms, they interrupted the parade, calling out, "What do you think you're doing! We're not gods! We are men just like you, and we're here to bring you the Message, to persuade you to abandon these silly god-superstitions and embrace God himself, the living God. We don't make God; he makes us, and all of this—sky, earth, sea, and everything in them.

"In the generations before us, God let all the different nations go their own way. But even then he didn't leave them without a clue, for he made a good creation, poured down rain and gave bumper crops. When your bellies were full and your hearts happy, there was evidence of good beyond your doing." Talking fast and hard like this, they prevented them from carrying out the sacrifice that would have honored them as gods—but just barely.

Then some Jews from Antioch and Iconium caught up with them and turned the fickle crowd against them. They beat Paul unconscious, dragged him outside the town and left him for dead. But as the disciples gathered around him, he came to and got up. He went back into town and the next day left with Barnabas for Derbe.

After proclaiming the Message in Derbe and establishing a strong core of disciples, they retraced their steps to Lystra, then Iconium, and then Antioch, putting muscle and sinew in the lives of the disciples, urging them to stick with what they had begun to believe and not quit, making it clear to them that it wouldn't be easy: "Anyone signing up for the kingdom of God has to go through plenty of hard times.

Pass the Ball:
For this Drill you will Need: -  a ball to pass around

Have all the students stand, and tell them to pass the ball around the room, without moving, once they start passing the ball, so that everyone touches the ball.  Time them.

Expect them to blow it.  Have them do it a bunch of times, teaching them to take their time, help each other, do it right, start fast, work as a team .. all the lessons of team work.  You might have to make it easier for them if they can not figure out how to make the time faster, or even to succeed in the drill.  I put them in a circle at some point, and have them pass the ball around the circle

Explain the Drill: - Ask them if working together for a common goal, (teamwork), was necessary to succeed and to go faster?  Ask them what else they learned about working with each other.  Add examples from your life about team work.

Now, in your own words, tell them that today's story from the bible is about Paul and his students, disciples, overcoming a touch situation by trusting the Lord, and helping each other, using today's bible story. (do not read it the verses yet.

This is the section where we do collection and praise.  You can do whatever you want now, or just continue.

To Build a Tunnel:
For this Drill you will Need:
1) 4 chairs
2) Much Tape
3) a Ream of paper or ton of newspaper
4) Time and Students.  :<)

Have them build a Tunnel using 4 chairs, tape and a ream of paper.  Tell and show them they can roll paper up to make beams, and ask them as a TEAM to build a tunnel that they can all pass under crawling. The tunnel must be able to stand without help on the chairs, and they go from one side to the other.  To make it more fun, thrown paper wads, Stoning then so to speak.  The goal is to get safely from one side to the other, using the whole team to do them work.

Explain the Drill: Same as the former drill - team work, but you have added physical danger.  Tell them about stoning - how they threw big rocks on you, then smaller one, after they threw you off a cliff.  From my perspective, it looks as though there might have even been some healing through prayer going on in this verse, but teaching that is up to you.  Friends and God, however, made this possible for Paul and his students.

Now read the bible verse, explaining as you go, what it felt like, why Paul was uncomfortable being called a God. Why people would have though he was a God, just because he healed. Why God needs to get the Glory.

When you are done, ask them to retell parts of the story, making additions as you go, just to make sure they understand.  I make this into a Game, buy having them compete with each other by loudness or acting or something that works for you group.  Fun is the way to make sure they get into it.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Doubting Thomas and Joshua - Seeing is Believing!

1) Setting The Children Up to See The Glory of The Lord - Game #1 ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION.

What you need to Play the Game:  

     a) A Reward: you can give to the children who win the game - the number is up to you, based on the number of times you play the game.  I suggest something small, like stickers or even food items.  Be careful about food items due to food allergies. We don't let the children eat anything before they show it to their parents, for example.
     b) 2 Groups of Children: - those who will have their memory tested, and those who will be the test.  I do NOT pick the students before hand.  This gives me more latitude based on their responses to the drill (game), but organization will allow you to move along more easily.  Either way is good.

How to Play the Game:  

     a) The Test:  Pick a child to go outside the room (make sure you have supervision for this child), or away from the view of the other children, and when they are hidden or out of site. (If I am short of supervision, I just have the child stand behind the other children.

     b) The Questions: - Once you have done part A above, then ask one of the following questions of a child or children to test their "Seeing" ability. (Memory based on sight.)

What Color Shoes was the Test Child wearing?
What Color Hair was the Test Child's?
What Color Pants (skirt dress) was the Test Child wearing?
What Color Shirt was the Test Child wearing?
What Color Socks was the Test Child wearing?
What Jewelry was the Test Child wearing?
What Color Hat was the Test Child wearing? (even if they did not have a hat)

Ask the questions in random order.  You can ask 1 or more, but I suggest 1 per child, so more children can be the test child, and more can guess (remember.) 

The Meaning of the Game:  

     Once you have finished the game, ask the children how well they did in remembering what their eyes saw.  Tell them that even though they SAW everything, most people still have a tough time remembering it. Now imagine how your memory would be, if what you were being asked to believe was NOT visible, or worse yet, what you saw was different or seemed different that what you were told.

At this point, show them the picture of the arrows above, and ask them what color arrow they see first? Then ask them what color arrow it really is?  Then ask them if they say yellow, does that mean that there are NO BLUE arrow?

Sometimes God is just like that - review the story of Moses and the 40 years, below, quickly.

When Joshua and Caleb returned from scouting out the land that the Lord had just given them, in Numbers 13, all the other spies that were sent into the promise land want to run away, thinking that what they SAW, giants and well armored cities, was what they should believe.

However, Caleb and Joshua wanted to believe what they saw, a land flowing with milk and honey, and they wanted to believe what they heard from Moses and the Lord.  They wanted to go into the land and occupy it as they were told.

In Numbers 13:31-33 But the others said, "We can't attack those people; they're way stronger than we are." They spread scary rumors among the People of Israel. They said, "We scouted out the land from one end to the other—it's a land that swallows people whole. Everybody we saw was huge. Why, we even saw the Nephilim giants (the Anak giants come from the Nephilim). Alongside them we felt like grasshoppers. And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers."

So the people refused to go into the promised land, and the Lord our God sent them back into the desert for 40 years, until the next generation of people were in charge, and they were once again on the shore of the River Jordan ready to go in and take the Land.

Just like the yellow and blue arrows, they saw one thing, giant dangerous people, and not the other thing, a Big and Powerful God.


The second section of our class is Praise/Worship music for children, and offering, but this section is NOT required.


The third section of the Lesson is teaching them about Why Jesus walked the Earth after his Resurrection: To Prove the Point that he was who he said he was, the son of God, and so that WE would have a memorial (the Bible) of the event, so we can Believe and Spread the Good News.

Read to the students

John 20:19-31 (MSG):  Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, "Peace to you." Then he showed them his hands and side.

The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: "Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you."

Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. "Receive the Holy Spirit," he said. "If you forgive someone's sins, they're gone for good. If you don't forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?"

But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, "We saw the Master."

But he said, "Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won't believe it."

Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, "Peace to you."

Then he focused his attention on Thomas. "Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don't be unbelieving. Believe."

Thomas said, "My Master! My God!"

Jesus said, "So, you believe because you've seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing."

Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it.

The Meaning of the Verse:  

     Ask them what the disciples had to see before the believed?  You want them to say or learn that Jesus wanted to Prove that the scripture and his promise that he would return was true, because if it is true, than he is how he said he was, The Son of God.  It is not like they needed more proof, since they had hundreds of signs during the previous 3 years, but they still doubted.

Ask them what Thomas had to see and do before he believed?  

Ask them what they were supposed to believe?  Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it.

Ask them what they are supposed to do with their belief?  This section of scripture says they are supposed to forgive sins - ask them why?  (so others can share in eternal life - the Good News)

If You Have Time, you should play a game that teaches that Hearing is believing - because we do not See the Gospel, we hear it.

Follow my Voice:  

     Have the majority of the students sitting in chairs, if possible, for safeties sake, spread across the center of the room, and have one student blind folded on one side, while a "caller" was sitting on the other side (you are the caller).

The Player is blindfolded, and follows you voice to the other side - the hear the truth about what to do to get across the room - from you, and it is up to them to Believe, to follow, and to understand or ask questions.

The Meaning of the Game:  

     Ask them if they know what there are supposed to Hear, who they are supposed to lead, and where were they are going?  You can even ask them who the people in they way might be.  There is no correct answer for that, since almost any thing that gets in the way is something they need to watch out for.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Sunday Lesson Plan

Used by Permission from
Purpose: To teach the students that the important event for us, as Christians, is not the resurrection but the Sacrifice of the Christ; and, at the same time, teach that we can use Jesus' resurrection as Jesus did himself, to Prove the power of the Good News, that Life Everlasting is ours as a gift from God.

Part 1: Before you begin the body of your children's class, gather the children together and tell them of a behavior or effort or work that you or someone you know has done, out of Love for Jesus. Mark 16:15 (ESV ): "And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation."  In my case, one of the teachers we has gone on several missionary trips to Haiti and is about to go on another one, so he is going to talk to them about his work for God in Haiti.

Part 2: In our children's ministry we sing and have an offering at this section.  If you do not, feel free to skip part 2.

Part 3: Read to your students 1 Peter 1:18-19 (ESV): "knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lambwithout blemish or spot."

Explain how in the old testament God required a blood sacrifice for all sins - Hebrews 9:22 (ESV) - "Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins." Then tell them the story or read them they story of Jesus' trial and death. (Starting at Luke 22:39), and then answer or ask questions to make sure they understand that at the point of Jesus' death, we were set free, the debt was paid and the final sacrifice for our sins had been made. (Making sure they know that Jesus ON the cross is the Gift.)

Illustration Game: I Told You So
     a) What you Need to Play the game: A chair for a teacher, helper or "Wise" student to sit in (Caller)
     b) Students, 2 or more at a time, to play the game.

Purpose: To teach them that hearing the instructions is not the same thing as knowing what they mean or knowing how to do it.

How to play: Have the Caller give motion or behavior instructions to the person or persons playing. Each time they do the instructions correctly, you repeat the instruction, with one additional instruction, until they fail or demonstrate their awesomeness.

Example: (They do them as you say them- Keep and even pace in your instructions - you are not trying to allow them to follow, and you are not trying to allow them to lose - you are just telling them what to do.)
1) Sit down 
2) Sit Down, Stand Up
3) Sit down, Stand Up, Jump
4) Sit down, stand up, jump, fall down
5) Sit down, stand up, jump, fall down, roll over
6) Sit down, stand up, jump, fall down, roll over, roll back
7) Sit down, stand up, jump, fall down, roll over, roll back, bark like a dog
etc .....

Do several groups of children, trying to make sure that they have fun, notice how the children are doing, and why they fail, if the fail, and why they win, if they win.

When you are done, ask them how to win the game.  The answer is obvious.  Listen, do, and understand what is said. Do not anticipate or guess, just obey.

Teach the Lesson: Today's lesson is about using the resurrection of Jesus to prove who he was so people will believe the Gospel message of free salvation. 

First, we point out that Even Peter Doubted, and he was one of the 3 closest to Jesus, and the onw that Jesus said the church would be founded on (by).  Mark 14:66-72 (NASB) - As Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came,  and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and *said, “You also were with Jesus the Nazarene.” But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are talking about.” And he went out onto the porch. The servant-girl saw him, and began once more to say to the bystanders, “This is one of them!”  But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders were again saying to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean too.”  But he began to curse and swear, “I do not know this man you are talking about!”  Immediately a rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had made the remark to him, “Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And he began to weep.

Point out, that just like the game, Peter knew what to do.  He even said he would do it.  But, when it  came time to perform, he did it wrong.  Not once, but 3 times.  Yet, Jesus was right.  Jesus is always right.

Right after this part of the story happened, Jesus died.  It was too late for Peter to change his ways. Peter, and the rest of those who followed Jesus, became afraid, and hid from everyone.  Their image of Jesus had been shattered. He told them what was going on, as the post card at the beginning of this message said, yet, they did not believe.

What did Jesus do to get them to believe? He rose from the dead on the morning of the third day. Read to them John 20:1 – 22 or tell them the story, then read John 20:19 - 22: On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me,even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,“Receive the Holy Spirit."

Discuss how Peter had to be told, and fail, (denial) then had to be told that Jesus was alive, then even see Jesus himself, and be told to no be afraid ...  Even Peter needed to believe that Jesus rose from the dead, and he was told it was going to happen, and saw it happen.

That is why we celebrate Easter.  Jesus walked away from the grave that we might believe his story and the promise that we too could walk away from the grave and live forever.  

So do your Job - tell others about the story .. that they two can live forever.