The One About the Cross

“Teacher, when you tell stories, do you think sometimes you could tell me the one about the cross. I keep wondering what that cross is about.” I will never forget that question from a little boy who attended church and my Bible class for the first time.

This little boy had loved the Bible story and learning activities that day. He told his parents and me that he wanted to come back every Sunday (and he did). What he experienced that day with us was extremely important in his faith journey but it was clear that we were not the beginning of his journey. God had been planting seeds in his heart all along the way. Seeds were planted every time this young man passed a church building with a cross on it. Seeds were planted when he would see jewelry and billboards and bibles with crosses on the front.

Seeds are planted at Easter time. Children see the crosses people are putting up on signs and in decorations. The words “Christ”, “Christian”, “Jesus”,”resurrection” and phrases like “He is risen” are uttered by many people whether they understand deeper truths or not. Many children (and adults) wonder, “What does it mean?”

Any day is a good day to share the story of Jesus but Easter time creates a perfect opportunity to answer the questions children are wondering about.

Resources for Telling the Story of Jesus

The One About the Cross

And yes, I shared the story of the cross with that little boy that first day. It was a condensed version but I wanted to make sure he knew that this was one of the most important questions anyone could ever ask.

I told him that God created the whole world and he wanted everyone to be happy and love him. Sadly, people made bad choices and that has made lots of bad things happen in this world. Sometimes people even die. God was very sad that people had caused the earth to be so bad. Even though many people did not follow him he still loved them. So God sent his son, Jesus, from heaven to earth to show everyone how to obey God and make good choices.

But many people did not believe Jesus and got so angry that they made him die on a cross.

But guess what!? He was dead but after 3 days Jesus came alive again! Jesus showed that he is stronger than death and stronger than any bad thing that can ever happen.

Soon after he came back to life, the time came for Jesus to go to heaven to live with his Father again in heaven. Before Jesus left he told his followers to be sure and tell other people the good news. The good news is that “Jesus died but he came alive again!” God says that Jesus dying on the cross means that people can change from being bad to being good. People who follow Jesus do not have to be afraid of dying. If you follow Jesus then you will also come alive again to live in heaven someday!”

And THAT is the one about the cross!

Same-Same But Different

For a number of years I have been collecting songs to add to http://www.missionbibleclass.org My hope has always been that Bible class teachers who would like to learn new songs can watch and listen to the videos over and over until they have mastered them.

Hearing Christian songs sung in different countries often reveals some interesting variations to what I have been singing the same way for years. In these last couple of days some wonderful Christian women allowed me to video them singing songs to upload to my website. I hope other teachers in Thailand will appreciate listening to them and learning new songs to sing with children.

I thought you might enjoy listening to the Thai version of a couple of old favourites.

More songs here.

Walking Down Memory Lane

Memory Lane Graphic

I so wanted to use the title “Loci Dokee” for this post but I didn’t know if anyone would read it.  I’ve also since learned that I was probably pronouncing it incorrectly.

The ancient Romans and Greeks used a mnemonic device called “loci” for memorising information.   Basically, they would mentally “walk through” buildings or streets and associate the various locations or items with something to remember.

It is sort of like tying a string around your finger to help you remember to put the rubbish by the curb.  As you leave for work and put your hands on the steering wheel you notice the string and say to yourself “oh yes, I need to put the rubbish out.”

Or remembering how many days in each month by using the the knuckles of your hand as a mnemonic device.

I’ve often used an adaptation of this same method called “Memory Lane” when helping children learn verses from the Bible.  Kids love it and it works particularly well when memorising a number of verses together.

 

How It Works

Children follow a “path” and stop along the way to say parts of the memory verse.  The words might be written out at each stop but once the children repeat the journey a number of times they learn to say the verse from memory without reading the words.

 

Supplies:

  • A Bible and chosen verse(s)
  • (outdoors) Sidewalk chalk and a surface such as sidewalk/footpath, asphalt, driveway or paved parking lot
    or
  • (indoors) Marker, pen or pencil and paper. Rope, string, masking tape to visually connect the papers and form a path
    or
  • (outdoors) A stick to “write” with and a surface such as sand or beach
  • or any combination of the above.

 

Instructions:

  1. Read over the verse(s) and divide it into phrases.
  2. Create a path using the method you have selected.
  3. Write the phrases on separate pieces of paper (or on the surface you have selected).
  4. Place them on the path in the order they will be said.
  5. Show the children how to follow the path. They will stop at each paper and read the phrase aloud before walking to the next phrase. (You might do it first to show them how it is done.)

 

Adaptations:

  • Older children can write out the phrases and set up the game for everyone else.
  • This activity can be done at a quiet and slow pace appropriate for smaller indoor spaces or fast and loud if you have a large outdoor area.
  • If you have plenty of help and space appoint helpers to stand at each stop and read the assigned phrase with the children. This personal touch aids in memorisation.  You will be amazed how quickly children learn long passages of Scripture with this method.

 

Memory Lane Example:

I’ve used the verses known as the Great Commission in the example at the top of the page.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)

Yes! Jesus Loves Me

Last week I had the honour of listening again and again to the beautiful words that never grow old to me:

Jesus loves me this I know

For the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to Him belong,

They are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!

Yes, Jesus loves me!

Yes, Jesus loves me!

The Bible tells me so.

Students from the South Pacific Bible College (Tauranga, New Zealand) generously volunteered to add some new material to www.missionbibleclass.org

Even though SPBC is a small school the student body consists of people from many parts of the world.  As students cheerfully sang the same song in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalon and Thai I was reminded again and again that the love of Jesus is for every person in the world.  This means every language, every culture, every socio-economic group and every age.

Children are naturally curious about people in other parts of the world so I think they will enjoy listening to “Jesus Loves Me” in various languages.  How about taking your laptop or tablet along with you when you next time you teach one of the following lessons?

And perhaps you will enjoy listening too.  Click here to listen to “Jesus Loves Me” in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog and the Thai language.

 

The Great Commission- Colour My World!

Today in Bible Class we studied about the Great Commission and the Ascension of Jesus.

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)

I stressed four important words in the commission: Go, disciple, baptise and teach.

I asked how we could “make disciples” and I got the best possible response.  A little girl said, “Well, I think we could just tell someone a story about Jesus and then they will want to follow him.  Then they can tell someone else and they will want to follow him.  And then they can tell…”  This went on for a little while until someone else interrupted with, “If our whole class goes out today and tells someone then I think everyone in the world will be a disciple in about an hour!”

I want their faith!

Here is the class activity we did to help us learn about telling the world about Jesus.

Supplies:

  • A plate with enough edge that it can hold liquid.
  • A spoon
  • A small bowl or saucer
  • Eye dropper (if you have one, I didn’t)
  • Toothpicks
  • Milk
  • Cooking Oil
  • Dish-washing liquid

Instructions:

  1. Pour a few drops of the dish-washing liquid into a small bowl and soak the ends of toothpicks in it.  Set aside.
  2. Pour enough milk into the plate so the bottom of the plate is covered and there is a thin layer of milk.
  3. Pour oil over the milk.  You don’t need as much oil as milk but you’ll need enough for it to eventually form a very thin layer over the milk (Don’t stress over the amounts).  Stir with the spoon then set the spoon to the side.
  4. Now, spend a few minutes watching the milk and oil separate and form oil clusters.  
    1. While this is happening talk about how this looks like the world and all its people.  People like to live together in families and towns and countries.  The plate looks like a map of the world.
    2. Then talk about what it would be like if no one in the world followed Christ.
    3. Now, add drops of food colouring to represent Christians and talk about how Christians live in the world among people who do not follow Christ.  (If I had used a little eye dropper my “drops” would not have spread so much and this would have worked better.  Small droplets will make the best effects.)  What if Christians only stayed in one place and never told people about Jesus.
  5. Now for the fun part!  Ask the children what they think the world would look like if Christians were to follow the Great Commission and go out into the world to tell other people about Jesus.  Then let the children take turns lightly touching the soap end of a toothpick to one of the drops of food colouring.  Amazingly, the food colouring shoots out across the milk and oil and makes amazing colours.
  6. Continue doing this until the white plate is full of colours.  All the while you and the children are doing this talk about how telling people about Jesus changes the world.

I really think you will love this idea!  Here are some photos (click to enlarge):