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Am I Willing to Sacrifice?

Some stories in the Bible lend themselves to crafts and colouring sheets.  This is not one of them.

There is no way to lightly depict a father being asked to kill and sacrifice his precious son.  The story of Abraham Preparing to Sacrifice His Son is a test of faith like no other.

Of course, even as Abraham was about to carry through with what God had told him to do, an angel intervened and stopped him.  Yes, Abraham had reasoned that God would not ask this unless he planned to bring his son, Isaac, back from the dead after the sacrifice (Hebrews 11:17-19).  But even so, there was a father and a son and a knife.

As difficult it is to comprehend the events of Genesis 22:1-18  they are only a foreshadowing of another time, later in history, when another father allows his son to be sacrificed on a cross.

I wanted the children in my Bible class to contemplate sacrifice.  I wanted them to think about what it would mean to love and trust God so much that we would be willing to give up something we hold precious.  Abraham passed the test and showed he was willing to go to any extreme God asked of him.  Would we pass that test?

The following activity meant a lot to my group of kids so I thought you might like to try it too.  Like Abraham, they will be taken to the very edge in contemplating sacrifice but then they will not actually be sacrificing.

I would suggest you speak calmly and not too fast so that you create an environment of contemplation among the children.

Supplies you will need:

  • Enough paper so that each child will have a few small sheets of paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Some flat stones
  • Something upon which to place the stones (I used a round metal pizza pan)
  • An empty box of matches

Instructions:

After telling the story of Abraham and Isaac further discuss how God was more important to Abraham than anything or anyone.  Abraham proved that he was willing to sacrifice even the most important thing in his life, his son.  Is God that precious to us?  What would we be willing to sacrifice if we were tested?

  1. Have the children write or draw what is important or precious to them on small pieces of paper.  One item on each piece of paper.  As they write you can already begin asking them whether the thing written on their paper is as important as God.  Keep in mind that this is not about good or bad.  They will be writing down some very good things and people.  This is about whether or not God is more important than even the MOST precious things.
  2. After they have written for a little while then bring out the stones and stack them together to form an altar.  My class was sitting at a table so I placed the stones on the metal pizza pan in the centre of the table.  The children immediately recognised it was an altar.
  3. Now ask the children to think carefully about what they have written on their papers and whether or not they would be willing to give them up (sacrifice them) if God asked them to.
    If they are willing to give it up then have them scrunch up the piece of paper and place it on the altar. Don’t rush this.  Allow them to really consider. More than one child in my class was not ready to “sacrifice” what they had written but, after some thought, bravely decided to do so.  When they place something on the altar be sure and tell them you understand how difficult it is and are proud they have made that decision.  After all, sacrifice is difficult for children just like it is difficult for us adults!
  4. Once the papers are all on the “altar” then bring out the matchbox.  When you seem to be ready to burn all of these sacrifices then open the matchbox to show that it is empty.

At this point continue the conversation to relate the activity back to Abraham.  Here is what I said, “Of course we are not going to burn all of these things.  God wants us to enjoy all of these blessings in our lives.  After all, many of these people and things are very good for us and he does not want us to give them up.

But God DOES want us to understand that HE is more important than even the best things in our lives.  Isaac was the best thing in Abraham’s life but Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice him showed that God was even more important than his beloved son.

In today’s bible lesson we learn that God tested Abraham to see if he was willing to give up Isaac if it was for God.  Abraham passed the test.

And guess what?  Today we have had a kind of test.  YOU were willing to give up your precious things if it was for God.  You showed that God is more important than all of these things.  You passed the test. I am so proud of you.”

At the conclusion of the activity I prayed out loud for each child individually.

 

 

I Say L.O.V.E

Have you ever had a song stick in your head and refuse to go away?   This week a friend of mine shared a song with me that has done exactly that.

The song is not fancy.  It only has six words.  It is a teacher training video and not a performance for the Grammy Awards.   Even so, it is stuck in my mind like glue.  Listen a few times and I dare you to forget it.

Everybody needs some love.

Lyrics:

I say L
I say L-O
L-O-V
L-O-V-E

Everybody needs some love.  L-O-V-E!

Everybody needs some love.  L-O-V-E!

Everybody needs some love.  L-O-V-E!

Everybody needs some love.

 

For more songs and free teaching resources visit Mission Bible Class

 

The Judges- Round and Round They Go

Recently I taught a set of classes about the time of the Judges.  The background to this time in history is one of a repeating cycle.  To illustrate the idea of a cycle that goes round and round I decided to use a hoola hoop.

Each week, as we studied our way through the Judges I used part of the class time to review this cycle.  Soon the children were able to explain this to the others in the class.  The rattle sound the hoola hoop made as it turned added to the fun.

How to Make a Wheel for Your Class

 If a hoola hoop is not available then use any circular object that can be rotated and used in the same way.  A bicycle wheel, hubcap, pizza pan or a round piece of cardboard would work just as well.

Write each of the stages of the cycle on thick card and tape them to the hoola hoop to form something like a wheel that can be rotated round and round.

Now it is time to review the cycle with the children in your class.  Turn the wheel as you tell about each stage. (To remind you of what to say write the following notes on the back side of the papers.)

  1. SAFE WITH GOD:
    God protected his people as they obeyed him.
  2. FORGET:
    Then the people strayed from God and even started worshipping false Gods.
  3. HURT:
    Because they left God they also left his protection.  When the enemies began to hurt them they had no protection from God.  This was a terrible time.
  4. HELP!
    Finally, after so many bad things were happening, the people realised their mistake and cried out to God for help.
  5. JUDGE:
    Even though the people forget God, God never forgot his people. When his people cried out for help he would send a hero (called a Judge) to save the day and turn them back to him. Sometimes these heroes were soldiers, sometimes they were very clever.  At least once they were a bit wild and crazy (Samson). God knew what kind of judge they needed.And the cycle continues…The judge would bring the people back to a time of safety with God (repeat number one again).  Sometimes many years would pass but then, the people began to forget again…(and this is where you continue to number two and so on).

Stories that Took Place During the Time of the Judges

1_Deborah Deborah the Judge

Gideon and Fleece Gideon and the Fleece

Gideon and Midianites Gideon and the Midianites

4_Birth of Samson The Birth of Samson

5_Samson and Delilah Samson and Delilah

6_Death of Samson The Death of Samson

7_Ruth and Naomi Ruth and Naomi

 

8_Ruth and Boaz Ruth and Boaz

9_God Answers Hannahs Prayer God Answers Hannah’s Prayer

10_Samuel Helper in Temple Samuel- Helper in the Tabernacle

11_Lord Speaks to Samuel The Lord Speaks to Samuel

Let’s Dance!

Dancing.sm

After crossing the Red Sea and being delivered from your enemies, what would YOU want to do?  A seven year old in my Bible class answered, “I would do this!” and then proceeded to dance around our classroom clearly demonstrating pure joy.

Sometimes the illustrations I’ve selected and the scripts from which I read simply pale in comparison to the spontaneous responses of children who hear about what God has done.

Over a span of about a month we had journeyed along with Moses and the Hebrews and felt the pain of their suffering in Egyptian bondage.  We had seen God at work through the ten plagues.  We  worked our way through the emotional experience of the night when the angel of death passed over.  We trembled as we crossed through the Red sea on dry land with great walls of water on either side of us and the enemy right on our heels.

Now, after reviewing these events one more time, I asked the children in our Bible class to imagine being a Hebrew that day and looking back over the water of the Red Sea.  I asked them to imagine the feeling of knowing that God was so strong and loved us so much that he had conquered our enemies and gotten us out of Egypt.  My question “What would you feel like doing?” was a rhetorical question so I was simply floored when this seven year old spontaneously responded in exactly the way the Hebrews did!

Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing. Miriam sang to them:  ‘Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted.  Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.’”  Exodus 15:20-21, NIV

At that point I put other activities aside and we all did just what the Hebrews had done.  We danced in praise to God for what he had done. Never mind that we were in an upstairs room and the adults in the Bible class below us thought I had possibly lost control of my class.  (Never mind that I probably DID lose control over them for just a few moments).  Never mind that the kids danced much better than the teacher.

The fact is that we participated together in some of the most “Biblical moments” I had experienced in quite some time.

The children went on the demonstrate dance moves depicting the plagues and the Passover and the crossing through the sea.  Then, after what turned out to be a rather morbid rendition of the annihilation of Pharaoh and his army, I drew the children back in together and we participated in some quieter activities.

Once again, I thank God that I have the honour of sharing His Word with children and that so often the children become my teachers.

More ideas for teaching using movement and dance

Movement and Dance

Marble Painting a Burning Bush

Marble Painting Complete

The children in our mixed-aged Bible class last Sunday created some awesome pictures using marbles and paints.  The lesson for the day was about when the Lord spoke to Moses from a Burning Bush 

We talked about how God was concerned about the suffering of his people and was giving Moses the important job of rescuing them.  After the lesson we gathered our supplies and made these lovely pictures.  Younger children needed more help and the older ones were able to do each step on their own.  Of course, the best part was being able to chat about the story as we worked on the craft!

Supplies

  • A baking pan or shallow box with sides (one for each child or take turns)
  • A large paper cut to the size of the bottom of the pan or box
  • Crayons
  • Paints in fire colours like red, yellow, orange, brown and black (tempera or acrylic works well)
  • Marbles (heavy ones work better and we had 3 per child)
  • Tape
  • Damp paper towels or items of choice for clean-up

Method

  1. Children draw a free-style bush on the paper using the crayons.  This is the best time to write names or titles on the drawings, too.
  2. Place the paper in the tray and secure the edges with a few pieces of tape.
  3. Sparingly dot the paper with various colours of paint (thick globs don’t work).
  4. Place the marbles on the surface of the paper and move the trays around slowly in a rolling or gentle wave-like motion.  As the marbles roll around they will pick up paint and distribute it over the paper.
  5. Remove the marbles and hang the pictures to dry.

Other Stories for this Craft

Use this same method and different colours of paint to create effects.  Generally, the student will draw the main picture and then use the paints to create the effect.  Alternatively, you could provide a printed colour sheet and then have the children create the paint effect over it.

  • Wind using white and a little black on gray paper.
    • Sermon at Pentecost  (Draw the people or steps of the colonnade and then create the wind with paint)
  • Mood or Feeling using multi-colours on coloured or black paper.  This is more abstract but can be very effective.
  • Plants using green and a few dots for flowers.
  • Light using white or light yellow on black paper.  Fill the page with the colours of light.  Add some glow in the dark paint for fun.
  • Fire and Brimstone using red, yellow, orange or just use yellow and white with a little red to highlight the brimstone.  Draw the city first and then create fire and brimstone with paint.
  • Hair using brown or black.  Draw Samson’s face first and then create the hair with paint.

How to Use on Any Story

Create a frame around any verse or picture by taping a paper over the centre of the paper (where the words are written) and only leave a blank space around the edges of the paper exposed.  Once the painting is complete then remove the paper.

Marble Painting Pin