What an amazing Bible story! A disabled man well known for begging. Two apostles who responded to the beggar by giving him much more that money. A man who could now walk because of the healing power of Jesus Christ.
Children can really relate to expressing excitement in the same way that this man did. He praised God while walking and jumping in front of everyone. Of course we had to practice this for a while in our class this past Sunday.
We also used our feet to express praise. First, we wrote “Praise God” on the centre of a piece of paper. Then we used our toes to paint.
It was messy. It was joyful. And it allowed the children to relate to the feelings the man had and to express praise with even the most humble of instruments…toes.
Oh, for this exuberance in accepting God’s power in my life!
But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold, but I do have something else I can give you: By the power of Jesus Christ from Nazareth—stand up and walk!”
Then Peter took the man’s right hand and lifted him up. Immediately the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk. He went into the Temple with them, walking and jumping, and praising God.
All the people recognized him. They knew he was the crippled man who always sat by the Beautiful Gate begging for money. Now they saw this same man walking and praising God. The people were amazed. They could not understand how this could happen.
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.
A Bible and chosen verse(s)
(outdoors) Sidewalk chalk and a surface such as sidewalk/footpath, asphalt, driveway or paved parking lot
(indoors) Marker, pen or pencil and paper. Rope, string, masking tape to visually connect the papers and form a path
(outdoors) A stick to “write” with and a surface such as sand or beach
or any combination of the above.
Read over the verse(s) and divide it into phrases.
Create a path using the method you have selected.
Write the phrases on separate pieces of paper (or on the surface you have selected).
Place them on the path in the order they will be said.
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.)
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.
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)
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?
Some people treat the bible like a book of fairy tales where each story always ends with the villain being punished and the good person being declared a hero. But the bible is not a fairy tale. There will eventually be a great day of eternal reckoning but, meanwhile, choosing to follow God comes at a cost and good people suffer along the way.
As much as I would like to protect children from this harsh reality of life I know it is my responsibility as a teacher to begin preparing them for the weapons Satan will relentlessly use against them.
Situation Cards are a simple way teachers can help prepare children in a way they can easily relate to. It extends a bible lesson beyond facts and memorization to application to everyday life.
Non-threatening, age appropriate conversations in the safe environment of a children’s bible class is a great way to help form the faith of a child. This formation of faith begins in childhood as the Apostle Paul instructed the young man, Timothy:
“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:12-17, NIV
I often tell Bible stories without using pictures at all. My careful description of the event, dramatic inflections of my voice and appropriate gestures help the listener form mental pictures in their own minds that are better than any I could draw on my own.
Sometimes I let the children draw their own pictures (see Draw and Tell Visual Aids Made by Children). Besides being a great way for children to express themselves the pictures give me an insight into whether or not I have communicated the story well. The pictures also often reveal the child’s understanding and reaction to God’s word and I learn a lot from that.
But, if I find really good illustrations from other sources I like to use them. The old saying “a picture says a thousand words” is particularly true with illustrations of Bible events and I want to make sure the “words” the picture is saying are true to what God is saying. For this reason I am careful in using such illustrations. Here are some tips:
The illustration should be biblically correct. If the Bible describes people, settings and actions then the picture needs to depict them as it is written in the Bible. Occasionally I will use a picture that strays from this in a small way but I am careful to point that out to the child I am showing it to.
The illustration should be age appropriate. Children are quick to tell you that they are not “babies”. A picture that looks too childish for the age you are teaching shows a lack of respect on your part. But, on the other extreme graphic pictures can be too mature for a younger child and they could be traumatised in some way like having bad dreams. A picture that alludes to the event is more appropriate for young children.
Facial expressions should make sense. The stories of the Bible involve many different emotions and children study the facial expressions in illustrations to make judgements about the characters. (Note the angry expressions of the synagogue leaders in the picture above. I used this picture in teaching the story of the Stoning of Stephen.)
And not every story has a “happy ending” for every character. For instance, if you are telling a bible story that involves suffering or temptation it would not make sense for the characters to have smiling faces. This trivialises the Word of God and does not actually prepare children for real life situations that Christians face.
Illustrations should reflect the culture and time period of the event. Artistic license allows an artist to interpret events into modern-day settings. I personally enjoy some of this artwork but children are usually more literal in their thinking so they can be confused by this. For this reason I try to use illustrations that depict the biblical characters in clothes and settings of the time in which the event took place.
A few illustrations can be better than many. One good illustration might be enough to use while you tell the entire story. As a teacher you could cover up part of the picture and reveal it in stages or simply point to different parts as you tell the story. You might even choose to combine the visual aid with a craft or other activity. Try these ideas at New Ways to Use Simple Colouring Pictures.
No picture can replace good teaching. Finally, remember this…even if you choose perfect illustrations you must not depend on them to tell the entire story. Children need to hear God’s Word for a growing faith.
Free Illustrations from Sweet Publishing
The user can even distribute the works as long as they are attributed to Sweet Publishing according to the instructions provided. I’ve been working on lessons from the Book of Acts and have used the illustrations for slide shows and visual aids. I’ll include them below and am quite happy to attribute them to http://sweetpublishing.com.
I hope you will give the Illustration Website a try and use the illustrations as you share the Word of God with children.
Illustrations from “Free Bible Images”
Another wonderful resource for visual aids is http://www.freebibleimages.org/ If you have used the illustrations from Sweet Publishing then you will notice that Free Bible Images has made use of many of their illustrations.