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He who hesitates is probably right.

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Serving the Right God

Aim: To encourage children to share the gospel while support their brother and sister Christians

Core Competency: Biblical Community

Objectives: The children will

  • Share the gospel determinedly regardless of the response
  • Support, encourage and defend other Christians

Key Verse: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourageŚwith great patience and careful instruction. ( 2 Timothy 4:2 )

Story: "True Blue Apostles, Black and Blue Hypocrites " ( Acts 18:24-19:41 )

Materials Required:

  • Pole
  • Rope, about a yard (meter)
  • String, 4 Pieces, each about a yard (meter)
  • Book, Heavy
  • Pencil

Eye on Science:

Advance Preparation: Tie the rope around the book so that the book cannot fall out. For example, wrap the rope around the book, cross over, and wrap in the perpendicular direction before tying. Tie the top of the book to the pole with one string, the bottom of the book to the pencil with another string.

In Class: An early airplane pilot decided to fly his biplane across a large body of water. After flying for some distance, he heard the sound of gnawing - a mouse was in the back of his plane, chewing on the control cables! He had no autopilot to fly the plane while he searched for the mouse, and no land was nearby where he could land to evict the rodent. A crash seemed certain, when the pilot had an idea. He flew his biplane higher and higher, until the mouse (who breathes very fast and needs a lot more oxygen) passed out from the thin air.

You're the pilot, and the biplane is your life. The mouse represents those sinful habits that threaten to crash your life in disaster. You have a choice - you can pretend to have no problems and keep your sin a secret, or you can choose to grow closer and closer to God with the help from your community of Christian friendships. The closer you live to God, the less "oxygen" will be available for sinful habits.

In Acts 18:24-27, Ananias and Saphira set an excellent example of Christian relationships. Apollos' preaching was good but incomplete - he didn't fully understand the gospel. Instead of criticizing him, A&P mentored him in the gospel to improve his witness. Once he was ready, the Christian community encouraged him to make a missionary journey to Achaia. Meanwhile, in Acts 19:1-12, Paul chose to boldly mentor, teach and proclaim the gospel in Ephesus, helping non-Christians to find Christ and Christians to experience the power of the Holy Spirit. These Christians helped each other to grow closer and closer to God.

By contrast, in Acts 19:13-16, a group of hypocrites who wanted power and fame for themselves chose to act "in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches". Note that they knew nothing of Jesus themselves; they just wanted the same fame as Paul. For their self-centeredness, they received a beating and had to flee the house naked. Their biplane was completely out of control.

Application: How do you choose to build up the church? Are you serving so that God will receive the glory, or so that you'll receive the praise?

Ask for a volunteer. Hold up the pole with the suspended book, and tell the volunteer that you will pull on the pencil until a string broke. Tell him that if he can guess which string will break (the upper or the lower), he'll receive a piece of candy.

  • If he chooses the upper string, make him right by pulling slowly but firmly on the pencil. The weight of the book will make the stress on the upper string greater than the stress on the lower string, such that the upper string will always break first.
  • If he chooses the lower string, make him right by pulling quickly and sharply on the pencil. The inertia of the heavy book will protect the upper string from the sudden added stress, such that the lower string will always break first.

Give the volunteer the promised candy, then make a second offer. He can keep the candy, or give it up for a second try. If he's right a second time, everyone in the class gets a piece of candy. If he's wrong, he gets nothing. However, he must make the opposite guess this time. (He may be reluctant to risk his candy when he stands to gain nothing anyway - but that is the point of this demonstration. You may need to "strongly encourage" him to unselfishly risk what he has for the benefit of his fellow Christians.)

Ensure that he is correct again (with the opposite guess) as explained above, and give everyone in the class their candy. Make two points:

  1. You could choose which string broke by the way you pulled on the pencil. You wanted him to win, so you did everything you could to help him.
  2. The volunteer acted like Ananias and Saphira and like Paul by putting the welfare of his fellow Christians ahead of his own interests. While in the short run we're not guaranteed to always "get the candy", in the long run God will honor our unselfishness and will receive glory because of our godly choices.

Application: Is your service to God for His glory or for yours? Who is God calling you to encourage this week? With whom will you share the gospel this week? Will you live your life in obedience to God alone?

or read the story of Punchinello and the Wemmicks by Max Lucado,from the book "Tell Me the Secrets". Discuss the meaning of the gold stars (flattery) and grey dots (putdowns), and the stickers in general (letting others' opinion of you affect your joy). Discuss Eli (Jesus, the Creator), and the point that only His opinion of us matters.

Tell the story (with appropriate scripture references to the Bible) of Jesus turning water into wine, in three parts.

  1. Mary requests help, then acts in faith (verses 1-5) - A wedding in Jesus' time was a multi-day feast. Running out of refreshments would be very embarrassing, but solving this problem isn't on the same level as healing the sick. Yet Mary takes this "little" problem to Jesus.

    Application: Do you take even your "little" problems to Jesus?

    Mary stood up for Jesus by telling the servants to obey Him

    Application: How do you stand up for Jesus in your life?

  2. Jesus orders pots filled with water, and a cup served to Toastmaster (verses 6-8) - The servants obeyed Jesus extravagantly. Discuss the meaning of obeying in this way. For example, if your mother asks you to pick up your room, and you pick up only the big things, that's half-hearted obedience. If you pick up everything from your floor and desk, vacuum and dust, polish your windows, and organize your sock drawer - that's obeying extravagantly.

    Application: Do you obey Jesus extravagantly?

  3. Toastmaster proclaims Jesus' wine the best! (verses 9-10) - Jesus changed plain, boring water into the best wine. He also wants to change your plain, boring life into the best possible life it can be.

    Application: Have you trusted Jesus to work a miracle in your life?

  4. The disciples believed in Jesus (verse 11) - This was Jesus' first miracle. Changing the water into wine was a simple, human act of compassion by a person with superhuman powers. The disciples realized that Jesus was more than a prophet, and they believed in Him as their Messiah. Over the next three years, the disciples would realize that Jesus was more than just Messiah - He was (and is) God Himself.

    Application: Have you put your faith in Jesus, too?

Like Eli in the story of the Wemmicks, Jesus is waiting for you to spend time with Him. What others think of you doesn't matter - you are special because He made you, and He makes no mistakes. He wants your life to be filled with joy, and the first step is to believe in Him and begin a life of discipleship.

Application: Have you put your trust in Jesus? What trouble, big or small, do you need to take to Him so that your life can be filled with joy?

Used: KIDZ 4/99 , KIDZ 6/02 , KIDZ 6/05

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