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.

 

Stargazing and Pointing the Way

Star Gazing

One beautiful summer evening, years ago, I held my sleepy two-year-old son in my arms as we gazed at the twinkling stars in the night sky.  He peered intently as I pointed out constellations with my finger and reminded him that God had made each star.  I was touched that we were sharing this special moment together until I realised that, in actual fact, he was not looking at the stars at all.  His full attention was concentrated on my hand!  He was trying to make his chubby little fingers bend and point in the same way mine did.

And sometimes that is how it is when we teach children about God.  In our minds we are viewing a grander and bigger picture of the Story of God but the children we are teaching are concerned with what is directly in front of them.

In time my son learnt to look beyond my pointing finger to see and appreciate God’s creation on his own.  In fact, his knowledge of the night sky long ago far exceeded mine.  He still loves his mother but now he has a unique and personal relationship with the Creator beyond what I could have planned for him.

In the same way, the children we teach will eventually see far beyond the individual Bible stories and begin to appreciate how each fits into God’s Greater Story.  I know it is your prayer, like mine, that they will understand how they themselves fit into that story.  I hope this will be far beyond what you and I could plan for them.

We ourselves need to remember that, at its core, God’s Story is more than facts, heroes, doctrines, moral lessons or even how children can live happy lives.  These things are pointers but the grander and bigger story is about The One who creates, restores and reigns.

Timeline Pics

Helping Children See the Bigger Picture

Learning the Stories of the Bible will provide children with a strong spiritual foundation that will continue to shape them throughout their lives.  But to understand an even grander and bigger picture of God children also need to understand how the Bible fits together as one continuous story.

A friend of mine drew the simple figures above as memory joggers so that children could draw them and tell the basic story of the Bible:  creation, law, kings, Jesus, the church and the final coming.  The pictures are intentionally simple so that children can easily draw them.

Other teachers have painted these pictures on their classroom walls as a timeline.  Pictures of individual Bible Stories are attached to the appropriate places on the timeline so that children understand the chronology and how the stories fit together.

Whatever methods you use to share God’s Story may God bless you as you point children toward him.

Photo at top of post: “Star Gazing” by Uditha Wickramanayaka
Creative Commons via Flickr
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

25 Ideas for Teaching Children about the Resurrection of Jesus

25 Ideas for teaching Resurrection

Many teachers are making plans to tell the resurrection story on Easter Sunday.  Whether at Easter or any other time here are some ideas that will help you share what is the most important event in the Bible.

“For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.”
Romans 6:9, NIV

  1. Learn about the Burial and Resurrection of Jesus so you will understand the story and feel comfortable sharing it with a child.
  2. Sing songs together from the church hymnal about the resurrection:
  3. Visit a mature older Christian and ask them to share why the Resurrection is important to them.
  4. Black out the windows of your classroom to make it dark like the tomb.  Quietly tell the story of the resurrection by the light of a candle or by torch/flashlight
  5. Place a dark cloth over a small table to form a “tomb”. Ask someone to be the body inside. Place a cardboard rock at the entrance. Let the children see the body inside and then put the stone in place. “The body” crawls out the back and the children remove the stone to see an empty tomb. Young ones love this obvious re-enactment.
  6. Choose words related to the resurrection story and tape them onto stones.  Before class begins hide the stones so that children can hunt for them.  As the children collect the stone discuss the meaning of the words.  Here are some words you might use:
    • Death
    • Burial
    • Resurrection
    • Cross
    • Tomb
    • Forgiveness
  7. After telling about the Resurrection guide a child in praying thanks to God.
  8. 9-torn-cross-instructUse these instructions for The Story of the Cross to learn a simple way to tell the story using one sheet of paper.
  9. Responsive Drawing:  Guide older children in reading today’s scripture references.  Then have them draw about what they have read.  Use a blank piece of paper or print this worksheet: The Burial and Resurrection of Jesus_Drawing Response
  10. Responsive Writing:  Guide older children in reading today’s scripture references.  Then have them draw about what they have read.  Use a blank piece of paper or print this worksheet: The Burial and Resurrection of Jesus_Writing Response
  11. Ask younger children to draw the story of the resurrection.
  12. Make use of plastic eggs on sale at Easter time.  Use these instructions for “Resurrection Eggs” to re-tell the story of the resurrection.
  13. Burial and Resurrection CraftMake a tomb craft from a paper plate.  Cut a paper plate in half, paint if desired, and then staple the top rims together.  To make the body of Christ cut a simple body shape from cardboard, wrap with one layer of toilet paper and dampen with water from a spray bottle, repeat layers and let dry.  The stone is just crumpled brown paper.  In one class we had the children each make a tomb and then put the body inside.  During the week I moved the stones and removed the bodies.  The next week we were going to be studying about the resurrection.  When the children arrived that day they immediately went to the tombs they had made and were shocked to find the body missing.  I let them search and conjecture for awhile before leading into the story of how the women came to the tomb to find Jesus’ body missing.  The children could totally relate to how the women must have felt.  At the end of class I returned the “bodies” so that the children could take the craft home and recreate the event for their families.
  14. 2015 Verse scramble (2)Write the individual words of Romans 6:9  on a whiteboard or chalkboard.  Say the verse together. Erase one word or phrase and say the verse again. Say it over and over, eliminating one word or phrase each time.  Soon, the children will have it memorised.
  15. Write the individual words of Romans 6:9 on pieces of paper and then mix them up.  Children can unscramble the verse to and memorise it.
  16. Print and use a colouring page or puzzle from one of these online resources.
    1. Colouring page and puzzle worksheets (Resurrection) at http://calvarycurriculum.org/pdf/Curriculum/Original/Curriculum/CURR238.PDF
    2. Colouring page and puzzle worksheets (Peter and John visiting the tomb) at http://calvarycurriculum.org/pdf/Curriculum/Original/Curriculum/CURR239.PDF
    3. Colouring page at http://www.sermons4kids.com/easter-sunday-colorpg.htm
    4. Colouring page at http://www.christiananswers.net/kids/clrpg015.html
    5. Colouring page and Wordsearch at http://www.colormountain.com/print/placemat.php?id=584
  17. Cook rolls that share the story of the resurrection: Cooking craft: Short youtube video on how to make Resurrection Rolls to tell the story- from CullensABCs at http://youtu.be/louAYkJPETQ
  18. Make a mobile using these instructions at http://www.sundayschoolcrafts.net/jesus-rose-from-the-dead-moblie.php
  19. Make a miniature garden using instructions at http://www.sundayschoolcrafts.net/garden-with-tomb.php
  20. Make a salt dough tomb using instructions from one of these online resources:
  21.  Life of Christ_LateTry out some of the ideas on the Pinterest Board: Life of Christ (late ministry)
  22. More puzzles and worksheets to print:
  23. Try one of these interactive group games from http://www.sermons4kids.com/surprise_its_empty_group_activities.htm
  24. Try one of the online activities and games at http://gardenofpraise.com/bibl31s.htm
  25. Before, during, and after your teaching, be sure to praise God for the resurrection of Jesus!

25 Ideas for teaching Resurrection

Curiosity that Leads to God

Photo by Mikhail Kryshin downloaded via Flickr. Use licensed by Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/When was the last time you were curious about something?  I mean really curious; the kind of curiosity that compelled you to get off the couch, or out of the office to go and earnestly seek out the answer; the burning desire to “know” that enticed you to look around the corner or walk down the untravelled path.

How energising is that quest!  How thrilling and satisfying is the answer once found!

I never want to deny a child the chance to feel that energy, thrill and satisfaction.  In my rush to GIVE information I must first allow children an opportunity to actually WANT it.

 

An Expectation of Curiosity

God draws children to himself through their curiosity.  I love how he prepares the Israelites leaving Egypt for future questions their children will ask.

In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?” tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.  Deuteronomy 6:20-21, NIV

Notice he says “when” your son asks you and not “if” your son asks you.  God knows children will be curious.

 

Curiosity Comes from God and Leads to God

God does not want us to feel the satisfaction before we have answers because he is the answer.  Only God can satisfy the curiosity and longing children (and adults) feel.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.  Psalms 63:1, NIV

 

Keep Them Guessing

PIC_0061The Bible is filled with interesting and attention-grabbing stories that children can easily relate to.  Before sharing a Bible story I will often share one small part of it as a “teaser”.  Here’s a fun and effective activity to try next time you teach children.  Keep Them Guessing is a simple activity where children are provided with items as clues to guess what comes next.

The photo at the top of the page is by Mikhail Kryshin downloaded via Flickr. Use licensed by Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

Hey, Let’s Look in the Bible!

A2015 Verse scramble (2) simple and effective Bible class activity that has been around for quite some time is one in which individual words from a Bible verse are spread out on a table and children unscramble them.  Click here for full instructions for Unscramble the Verse.

Usually I would have the class read the verse in the Bible before unscrambling the verse.  But awhile back I decided to try something different.  I divided the ten children in the class into 2 mixed-age groups and gave each group a duplicate set of scrambled words.  All I told them was that it was a Bible verse.  The children quickly set to work trying to figure out how to put the words in order.

I observed both teams using logical methods to figure out this puzzle.  They tried to work out sentence structure.  They placed question marks and full-stops (periods) at the ends of lines since those would end sentences.  Words that started with capitals were the first words in sentences.  But, it was a complicated verse and they were truly stumped for the answer.

I could tell both groups were getting a little frustrated.  It would have been easy for me to bail them out right away but I actually wanted to let them feel that frustration for a little while.  I wanted them to feel what it is like to work really hard but not be able to figure it out on their own before pointing them to God’s Word..

Of course, I wouldn’t have let that frustration go on so long that the children would give up or become discouraged.  So, just when I was about to “break” and give them a hint, one of the youngest children popped up with this suggestion, “Hey, let’s look in a Bible for the answer!”  Both groups scrambled to find a Bible and look up the passage.  The answer was there all along!

How often do we try to figure out life on our own without seeking answers from God’s word?  How many times do we feel that frustration but look to other sources for answers?  Let’s help guide children towards God and what he has to say so that it will become a natural part of their life.

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.    Proverbs 2:6, NIV

Note: In case you are wondering, the memory verse scrambled in the photo above is Hebrews 13:6.  How about looking in your Bible for the answer?  The memory verse was used with the Bible story Gideon and the Midianites