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 had a lot of fun this week working with students at the South Pacific Bible College here, in New Zealand. It was their “Outreach Week” so I got to share with them the importance of reaching out to the children around us.
After talking about that we launched right into some hands-on participation in the behind-the-scenes work of Mission Bible Class. Among other things, the students prepared a demonstration video for the website. In the future teachers around the world will be able to access this free resource when they share God’s Word with children.
Click here or on the picture below to link to the “Pick a Card” Memory Verse Game demonstration video. I can tell you first-hand that children really enjoy playing this game.
As a Scripture was being publicly read in the church of my childhood I would sometimes watch my grandmother’s finger slide across the page of her Bible. As a small child I would light up when I could occasionally read a word or two.
There is no other book like the Bible in its importance for people of all ages. It has always amazed me how God’s Word can seem so simple and yet so complex. Even when I am reading Scripture as I prepare lessons for infants and toddlers I am often astounded at a new concept that I had never noticed before.
I think Gregory the Great said it best many many years ago when he wrote the following (emphasis is mine),
“Divine speech sometimes stirs up the clever with mysteries, but more often provides consolation for the simple with the obvious. It has out in the open food for children but keeps hidden away the things that fill the minds of the eminent with awe. Scripture is like a river again, broad and deep, shallow enough here for the lamb to go wading, but deep enough there for the elephant to swim”.
What a blessing to help lambs wade in God’s Word! As I teach children I want to be attentive to their stage of development and help them experience God fully. I usually have my own Bible open on the table when I am teaching so that children can see that I refer to it and respect what God says.
In addition to my own Bible I want children to be very familiar with handling a Bible on their own. If at all possible I try to have bibles available for the children. Over the years I’ve developed a few measures for what children of various ages are able to do so I’m sharing them with you here in case you might find them useful in your teaching and at home.
Allow the infants and toddlers to hold small Bibles. These should be inexpensive because they will inevitably, at one time or another, be chewed and pulled apart and the pages torn.
Show them how to hold the Bible carefully and how to turn pages.
Place a sticker of Jesus inside the front cover so the children can “find Jesus” when they hold their bibles.
Hold the Bible in front of each child, in turn, and slide your finger along as you “read” from it. I usually read, “God Loves Suzy.” (inserting the child’s name) Or “God loves Mummy.” “God loves Daddy.”
Pre-Schoolers can look at pictures in a children’s Bible. If you do not have picture Bibles then tuck pictures between the pages of a Bible before class.
Guide the children in pretending to read along with you as you tell a story or read a verse.
Children of this age can learn to spell and write a few basic Bible words. I use magnetic letters or puzzles to do this. And of course they are learning to write letters at this age so they really enjoy just writing the letters. We practice one word over a few weeks until the children have it down. They are so proud of themselves!
Depending on reading level children of this age might be able to read a few verses in a row or even a very short Bible story. You will have to plan this carefully if children are reading out loud in class. This can be embarassing for some children and it does take time.
Children in this age group can copy verses onto paper. These can be used in the classroom or taken home as reminders.
Children aged 8-10 years are often able to confidently find a verse from a book, chapter, verse reference. A fun game is for the teacher to call out a reference (like Ephesians 6:1). The children then “race” to find the verse in their Bible and begin reading.
One of the most profound aspects of helping shape the spiritual lives of children is guiding them in talking to God.
A few years ago I realised that I was not giving proper attention to prayer in my Bible classes. I found myself sometimes tagging a prayer on at the end instead of taking the time to facilitate an actual connection between the children and the Creator of the Universe. He has, after all, invited these children into his presence and that is no insignificant thing to be passed quickly over!
Since that time I have used a number of different methods to encourage active prayer. You can read more at Prayer in Bible Class but I thought I’d just share a few of my favourites here.
My youngest grandson turned four years old this week. Before opening his gifts there was much curiosity about what was inside each one. If he had not been such a busy four year old he would probably have guessed what was inside by simply listening to all the clues that were floating around among the grown-ups.
The time of year is fast approaching when many of us wrap up surprises and place them under a Christmas tree to be unwrapped by family and friends. Aren’t you a little curious about what is inside that package with your name on it?
God so loved the world that he gave us the gift of his Son. As I was looking over the lesson Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus I was reminded once again about the number of clues God gave about the coming of the Messiah.
I love talking to children about this!
God Kept His Promises!
God sent all of these messages before Jesus was even born. God promised over and over that he would send Jesus. And guess what.
Jesus was Abram’s great, great, great…..grandson-just like God had promised.
Jesus was a special child born to a special mother. Just like God told Isaiah.
Jesus was born in the city of Bethlehem. Just like God told Micah.
Mary had a baby and named him Jesus. Just like the angel said.
Joseph married Mary and took care of Jesus. Just like the angel told him to.
For help teaching this lesson and links to download the pictures click here.