Wednesday, December 12, 2012



You will divide your clubbers into 3 teams - the Angel Team, the Manger Team and the Temple Team.  Print out the "script" below in a large font (size 24 works well) so it's easy to read.  Use the introduction and explanation below.  Before Council Time, set up 3 stations with very simple props, but have the stations far enough apart that you have to "travel" from one to another.  Note I have at times omitted parts of verses or whole sections to let the narrative flow a little better for the purpose of this "drama".  

Assign a leader to each team.  As you travel, have the team reading for the next station go first.  Have kids who are not part of the station team sit down while the team reads.  Let the Word of God be what is powerful as you do this together!

Scene 1 - Angel Team - Mary & Gabriel

Scene 2 - Manger Team - the birth of Jesus

Scene 3 - Temple Team – Simeon & Anna

Suggested Props and Locations:

Angel Scene - a corner works well  - with fake plants, pillow for Mary to pray on?
Manger – back of sanctuary - Straw?  Large basket with rough blanket inside?
Steps to the Temple – front of Sanctuary – large urns?  


It’s just few weeks before Christmas.  Advent is the countdown, and we’re almost there!  Today we are going to try to put ourselves into the story of what God did for the world, and for you and me, that wonderful day.

I want to I want to divide us into 3 teams – the Angel team, the Manger team, and the Temple team.  Our story will begin in the village of Nazareth, then will move to Jerusalem where Jesus is born, and finally to the Temple where Mary and Joseph bring the baby Jesus and meet two amazing people.  Follow me to each location.

Together, we’re going to piece together what happens next, and I am going to ask us to read the events from the Bible.  But to save us a bit of time, the passages we will read are on these pieces of paper.  Each team will have their script to read out loud.  We will begin with the Angel Team, then the Manger Team, then the Temple team.  Please read out loud just one section from the pages and stop when you see a big space.  Then pass the paper on to someone else on your team.  I may stop your reading at times to be sure we know what’s going on.  (Hand out scripts - you may want an AWANA leader to be connected with each group.)

(I did this last night and realized I needed to provide more context for each station - so once the kids are seated and the team is ready, introduce the "place" - Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jerusalem Temple - with a few important details and then have the team begin reading.)


God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.

Gabriel appeared to her and said, "Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you! " Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.

"Don't be frightened, Mary," the angel told her, "for God has decided to bless you! You will become pregnant and have a son, and you are to name him Jesus.

He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.  And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!"

Mary asked the angel, "But how can I have a baby? I am a virgin." The angel replied, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby born to you will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. For nothing is impossible with God."

Mary responded, "I am the Lord's servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants. May everything you have said come true." And then the angel left.  Mary responded, "Oh, how I praise the Lord. How I rejoice in God my Savior!

For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and now generation after generation will call me blessed.  For he, the Mighty One, is holy, and he has done great things for me. His mercy goes on from generation to generation, to all who fear him.

His mighty arm does tremendous things! How he scatters the proud and haughty ones!  He has taken princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.  He has satisfied the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands.

And how he has helped his servant Israel! He has not forgotten his promise to be merciful.  For he promised our ancestors -- Abraham and his children -- to be merciful to them forever."


At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. All returned to their own towns to register for this census.

And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David's ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee.

He took with him Mary, his fiancee, who was obviously pregnant by this time.  And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.

She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn.

That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened,

but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior -- yes, the Messiah, the Lord -- has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David!

And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!"

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others -- the armies of heaven -- praising God: "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors. "

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, "Come on, let's go to Bethlehem! Let's see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

They ran to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. Then the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.


Now there was a man named Simeon who lived in Jerusalem. He was a righteous man and very devout. He was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he eagerly expected the Messiah to come and rescue Israel.

The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord's Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple.

So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,

"Lord, now I can die in peace! As you promised me, I have seen the Savior you have given to all people.

He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!"

Joseph and Mary were amazed at what was being said about Jesus. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, "This child will be rejected by many in Israel, and it will be their undoing. But he will be the greatest joy to many others.

Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was very old. She was now eighty-four years old.

She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer.

She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God.

She talked about Jesus to everyone who had been waiting for the promised King to come and deliver Jerusalem.

End your time with a brief summary - perhaps one idea that struck you as you heard the Scriptures read - and a prayer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


This is a 3-week series on helping kids read their Bibles.


Board book bible, “Little House on the Prairie”, Children’s Bible, regular Bible

Did you guys ever watch Sesame Street when you were a little kid?  Do you remember the song – 1 of these things is not like the other, one of these things is not the same? 

We’re going to do something like that - I’m going to put 4 books on the table here, and I want you to think of ways they are alike, and some ways they are different.

So here’s our first book (put kid’s board book – bible story – on table). 

Okay, let’s talk about the first book.  What do you know about this book?  Have kids answer, e.g., it’s a Board book.  It has big heavy pages to help you turn them, only a few words on the page, big bright pictures, sometimes the book rhymes.  If I wrote a board book, what age do you think I would hope would read this book?  (babies, parents & little kids)

Now here’s our second book (take out Little House on the Prairie).  Let’s think about this book - What’s different about this book?  (Have kids respond)

·        More words per page

·        Chapter book

·        Longer story

·        No pictures or just a few pictures

It’s a BIG step from reading this (Board book) to reading this (chapter book), isn’t it? 

Now let’s look at this 3rd book - (bring out Jesus Storybook Bible)  How many of you had a children’s story bible?  (have kids give a few examples).  What’s different about this book from the board book and Little House on the Prairie?

(Have kids answer)

What’s easy about reading a Children’s Bible (pictures, not too many words). 

One thing I notice it that there’s a lot of Bible stories.  But maybe you don’t know that lots of things in the bible are left out of a Children’s Bible.  If all of the Bible were put into a children’s Bible with pictures and large letters, It would probably be about this wide (spread hands to about 12”)!

Finally, let’s look at the 4th book – (take out a “real” Bible and open it up so kids can see inside it).  What’s different about reading this type of book? 

·        no pictures,

·        very small words,

·        two columns (maybe)  

·        lots of hard words and names

·        lots of “books” in the bible

Who do you think can read a book like this?  (grown ups, strong readers, etc.)

Some of you are just becoming confident readers, and some of you are just beginning to read chapter books.  How would you feel if I asked you to read this whole Bible?  (have kids answer)

I wonder if you feel that reading a book like this – a REAL bible – is REALLY hard.  Do you?

We talk about the Bible a lot at AWANA, and we hope you will read your Bible for yourself, but do you sometimes think – how can I read a book this hard with the words so SMALL???

So tonight I have 2 big ideas for you that I hope will help you feel you really can read your Bible.

Big idea #1   You don’t have to read the whole Bible. 

Some people DO try to read the Bible that way, so they open their Bible to page 1, and begin reading.  But it gets pretty hard pretty quickly and most people just give up.  That’s a whole lot to read, isn’t it?

Instead, you can read a little or a lot.  You can read in the beginning of the Bible, or in the middle of the Bible, or at the end of the Bible.  You can read anyplace and God will bless you.  And the more you read, you will learn a little more and a little more about what is in this wonderful Bible.  And you're learn a little bit more about the wonderful God who loves you and wants you to love Him.

Big Idea #2 – When you read, you will find parts you REALLY like.  If you asked some of our AWANA leaders, I think they could quickly tell you of one verse that has meant a whole lot to them!  In fact, let's ask them!

(ask leaders to share their favorite verses).

Next week we’re going to look more at what happens in the first half of the Bible called the OT, and to help us, we’re having a special guest.


Well, every journey must begin with the first step, and that’s what we’d like to do tonight.  We’re going to take our first steps to introduce you to your Bible so you’ll have a bit more confidence in opening it up to read it.  And in a few minutes, you’re going to meet a very special person who had an important role in writing this book.

But first, I want you to get our your Bibles and open it up to the very, very beginning – even before the first words of Genesis – to the Table of Contents.

What do you see?

(have kids talk about what they see) – 66 “books” of the Bible, lots of strange names, two big parts – let’s start there.

1.    The Bible has two big parts – The Old Testament and the New Testament.

The old testament tells us of what God has done from the very beginning of time up to about 400 years before Jesus was born. 

For Christians, the OT is the first half of our Bible.

So let’s see how much of the Bible is in the Old Testament.  I want you to put your finger in Genesis, and then I want you to flip through the pages all the way to the end of the OT in your Bible.  When you do, hold up your Bible with your fingers still in those pages.

That’s a lot of pages, isn’t it?  Just what is IN this OT?

If you’ve been to Sunday school, you probably know most of the stories of the OT very well.  (talk about who’s who in the OT – Adam & Eve, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, King David - very briefly).

Most of those stories are in the early part of the Bible.  But look at all the other books – Job, Psalms, Proverbs, all the way through Malachi – that are parts of the OT that you may NOT know anything about.  What are those books about?

Well, to help us, I’ve invited a very special guest tonight - one of the actual OT prophets to join us tonight to tell us about this big part of the OT.  Would you please welcome Isaiah!

(Have Isaiah talk about -

·        Isaiah’s call, when he lived

·        Briefly what was his message – have Isaiah read part of his book and have Isaiah encourage the kids to read some of Isaiah on their own – give them some help with some of the easier passages

·        Talk about why the prophets are important for us to read – justice issues, the promise of the coming Messiah

·        Have Isaiah say to the kids – when you read your Bibles, and I hope you will, don’t forget to read a bit of my book, Isaiah.   You’ll find it right about in the middle of your Bibles (have him close his bible, put his fingers just about half-way and open up the bible – most times it will open to Isaiah)

Have kids thank Isaiah.

So tonight, we have taken one step – a big step – in learning how to read such a big book.  Next week, we’re going to look at the other Testament – the new testament that talks about who?  (Jesus).  And we’re having another very special guest next week as well.

So let’s finish by saying together all the books that make up the OT.


Guest:  Someone dressed as Paul with some type of manuscript, scroll and pen

Begin with a review from last week before you begin on NT.

So now let’s go back again to the Table of Contents in the very front of your bibles.  Last week, we talked about the OT – Who knows what is the first book of the OT?  What is the last?

After Malachi, a whole new part of the Bible begins – what we call the New Testament.  Here’s an easy way to understand the difference between the OT and the NT.  The Old Testament tells about things that happened before Jesus.  The NT tells about Jesus.

The first 4 books of the NT are what we call Gospels.  Gospel means “good news”!  The Gospels are full of stories about Jesus.  If you want to read about Jesus calming the storm, you’d look in the Gospels.  If you wanted to read about Jesus dying on the cross – where would you look?  In the Gospels.  Or the Christmas story is in the …(have kids answer – Gospels). 

There isn’t just one Gospel – there are 4 Gospels – named after the four people who wrote them - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  They wrote the Gospels for a very important reason - so that people who never met Jesus or heard Jesus could learn about him.  

After the Gospels, there is a short book called Acts that tells the story of what God did after Jesus rose from the dead and went to heaven.  This is where we learn about someone you may have heard about - a man named Paul.

After the Gospels and Acts, we have many short books are very different from the Gospels and Acts – beginning with Romans.

These books are letters written by Paul and Peter and John and James to Christians.  Most of them are very short – only a few pages.

Why would these letters be so important that they are put into our Bible?  To help us answer this question, we are very honored to have a special guest tonight who wrote a big part of the NT – Paul bringing scroll and quill?

·        Tell briefly his story

·        Tell why he wrote the letters – trips & love for these people – what concerned him

·        How churches kept them and shared them

·        Have Paul read a bit of one of his letters to the children and have him urge them to read a bit of them – even if they are a bit hard.  They will learn more and more as they keep on reading.

Thank Paul for visiting us!  (Have kids applaud)

Before we end our look at the Bible, we can’t miss the very last book.  It is a very different book from anything else in the Bible.  Do you know the name of the last book of the Bible?  (Revelation) – This final book of the Bible is important because it tells about what God will do in the future.  It tells about when God will defeat Satan, and how God will finally reign forever.  (lay a crown on the table?).

So, here we are at the end of our trip into the bible.  You now know a bit more about the OT and NT, and you’ve met Isaiah and Paul.  You know you don’t have to read the Bible from start to finish.  But do open your Bible and read it!  

Let’s end tonight by saying together the books of the NT.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


We used this talk during VBS to explain how Jesus takes our sins away - Sorry I can't figure out how to eliminate the white highlighting!

Six posterboard signs about 12x16" each with a string tied to two ends long enough so it can hang around someone's neck, large marker, calculator.

We’ve been talking this week about a very important thing - God and us.  Today I want to tell you some really wonderful news that I hope you will always remember.  We've been talking about sin, and using this bracelet with many colors. Who can tell me about the “dark” color on the bracelets we’ve been using this week?

How many times would you say that you sin in a day?  (take a few answers)  I probably sin ten times before breakfast!  Here’s some ways I sin - I can get impatient, I can say something unloving to my wife, I can...

Nobody is perfect.  If you met somebody who only sinned three times in a whole day, they would be the best person you’ve ever met.  Nobody’s that good!

How many of you ever have to go to your room when you do something wrong, or spend time in time out?  If you were so good that you only sinned three times a day, there are 365 days in a year, and that’s over a thousand sins every year!  So if you had an hour of time out for every sin... (calculate)  That’s forty-two days of non-stop time out!

Invite up two kids, one adult.

Ask each one how old are they? When you hear their age, Use it to calculate how many sins a year they may have committed, calculating only three sins a day (e.g., a child age 10 = 3 sins a day x 365 days/year x 10 years = 10,950 sins.  Write on a sign in large numbers how many sins each one has done as you ask them, begining with youngest to oldest. (Act more and more astonished as you come up with these numbers).

Wow - that's a whole lot of sin, isn't it? Now we know that God is just, and that there always has to be a punishment for sin — not just discipline like time out so you’ll be good, but a real punishment: separation from God. That’s a hard thing to hear, isn’t it?   

But here's the thing that i hope you remember from today:  God loves us so much, that he found a way for this punishment to be taken away. How? He sent His son Jesus to die for all our sins.  When we put our trust in Jesus, something wonderful happens.  

When X puts her trust in Jesus, this is what God does for her - (Have each person take off sign with # of sins). This is what it means to be forgiven. (Do this for each person). But where do those sins go?

This is where Jesus is SO important! We know Jesus never sinned.  Just like this clean page (hold up sign that is clean), Jesus is totally clean.  No sin, not even one time.  When His mom told Him to do something, He did it.  Yesterday you learned some of the horrible things people did to Jesus - When somebody spit on Him, He forgave them and loved them.  When somebody hit Him, He didn't hit back.  So what would Jesus' sign look like? Would it be like our 3 people here?

No - it would look like this

(put 3 clean signs around your neck)

When He died on the cross, he didn't have any sins of his own that needed to be punished. He was innocent. (take off 3 clean signs) But this is what he did (take all the signs with the # of sins and slowly put all of them on your own neck). Jesus took all of our sins away - the sins of everybody in this whole room and the sins of all the world, and he paid the punishment for them — that is what Jesus did when he died for us for us!

But that's not all.  Not only does Jesus take away all our sins, but to each one of us (go up to each of your three volunteers one by one, put a clean sign on him/her), Jesus gave His own good deeds.)  So when God looks at _(name)_, He doesn’t see the wrongs she's done but He sees the goodness of Jesus — it’s just like _(name)_ did all the many good things Jesus did.

When we are forgiven, God doesn't see 8000 sins — He sees _(name), child of God_.  He doesn't see 9000 sins — He sees _(name), child of God_.  He sees _(name), child of God. But how could He do this?  
You're learned two verses that tell us this: 2 Cor. 5:21 or 1 Peter 2:24. I sometimes call this God's wonderful switch. Our sins to Jesus and His goodness to us.

Boys and girls - we love doing AWANA each year, because it’s lots of fun.  But the number 1 reason we do it is to tell as many boys and girls as we can about the love of God that can take all our sins away and make us a child of God.

If you have never asked Jesus to forgive your sins, I urge you to do it today.  Maybe you’re not sure how to do it, so I’m going to pray a very simple prayer now, and you can pray along with me silently.

God, this is such good news.  You love us so much that even when we sin, you love us and sent your son, Jesus to die for all those things we have done wrong.  Thank you!
Today we’re asking you to forgive us for all those things we’ve done wrong - not because we’re pretty good most of the time but because all our sins were put on the cross and taken away.
God, I pray many boys and girls here would put their trust in you today.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


SIX OR SO NECCO CONVERSATION HEARTS - sort through beforehand and use only ones that are okay with this age

Have you ever heard a word and not known what it meant?  It feels a little silly, doesn't it?  How do you figure out what a word means?

Let's imagine that we don't know the meaning of a word we ALL know, and that word is LOVE (write on white board).

And let's pretend that the only clues we have to what the word "love" means come from Necco conversation hearts.  So I'm going to give out a few hearts to some volunteers, who will read to us what's on the heart.  And then we're going to brainstorm together what this new word "love" might mean.

(invite children to read what's on the heart one at a time and after each child reads the message, ask the kids to talk more about what "love" might mean, and write that on the white board - choose some hearts that indicate how you look means you'll be loved, that love is all about romance, etc.).

Okay, thanks everyone.  So let's look at all the ideas we had about "love".  

Now let's look at another way we might understand love by watching this video clip:

(choose scene from film or YouTube that shows self-sacrificing, tender love - the story of the Hoyt father and son is amazing!).

If you didn't know the meaning of the word "love" and all you saw was this video, what would you think "love" meant?

(let kids answer)

We use the word "love" all the time.  We say we "love" a video game or a TV show or LOVE ice cream.  We talk about God loving us and sometimes it sounds like God's love is about as serious as loving ice cream!

God's love has a lot in common with the love of this dad for his son.  What ways can you think of?
(let kids answer).

Now let's look at 1 John 4:10 and 19

You'll never find love like this any where on earth.  It's a one-of-a-kind love.  It's so different from what our Necco conversation hearts tell us love is, right?

Maybe you and I get a little taste of this love when we're snuggled next to our mom or dad, and feel really, really safe.  God's love is even better!

Let's thank God for His undeserved love that cost him BIG time!



 three Boxes gift wrapped  - one with an old lunch in it, one that's empty, and the third is a beautiful box with a small stuffed animal in it and a note inside that says "You've opened the best gift."

Way back in September, we have been talking in Council Time about a BIG problem that every human being has – sin.  And we’ve talked about the problems sin brings, including the BIG one which is that sin separates us from God.

We spent some time looking at what God has done to solve sin’s awful problem – sending His only Son, Jesus, to make a swap with us – to take our sins on him, and to give us his goodness. 

We talked about repentance, what it means to be deeply sorry for our sins.  One way to look at this deep sorrow for sins is to be totally honest before God and to tell him that there is nothing in us that can earn his love. 

There’s one final piece that we need to know, and that how we get this wonderful gift from God.  It's the final piece and it is called faith. 

Take out the 3 Boxes and put them in front of you in a line.

Now the first thing we need to know about faith is going to be explained by these 3 boxes.

Let’s see, what can we tell about these boxes just by looking at them?
(have leftover lunch inside one - ewwww - this is gross!  Who would ever call this a gift?  Sometimes things look good on the outside, but they are icky on the inside.

Okay, let's open the second one (shake it, say - I don't hear anything) - open it up - Wow, this isn't a gift either - this box is just empty).  that's a big disappointment.

Maybe this third one is the real gift.  What do you think?  (Shake it - at least there's something INSIDE this one, right?) 
Open up the box - hey look at this!  My favorite (hug the stuffed animal and ham it up.  THIS is a real gift, right!  But look, there's a note.  (read note)  Yup - this was the best. 

Now what if we all agreed – box #1 and Box #2 were not worth it.  But when we looked at box #3 we thought - yes, this gift #3  really looks like the one that is worth it.  And then...we just left the gift here, and walked away?

Gifts are great, right?  But there’s something important about gifts, that, maybe I can show it best by having a volunteer come forward

(whisper to volunteer that whatever I do or say, he/she should not take the gift)

I am so happy that xx is here, and I have something wonderful for her  I know she’ll like it.  I want to gift it to her because I like her.  Am I right, xx, that you didn’t do anything to earn this gift?

Did you talk with me earlier and ask me for this gift?  Were you really, really good and therefore somehow earned this gift?

Okay, well, I am so happy to give you this gift

(try again –
Um, here, this is for you.  Clubbers, what is the problem?

She isn’t taking the gift!

What does she need to do?  Receive the gift.
(Give her the gift to open)

Clubbers, we just had a little illustration of what faith is.  God has offered you and me a wonderful, wonderful gift in Jesus.  He has offered to take away all your sins, to forgive you, to make you His child, to give you eternal life.

Faith is telling God you want this gift.  Faith isn’t something we do to impress God.  It’s merely putting out our hands, and receiving.

Open your Bibles to Ephesians 2:8-9

God offers this gift to you, no matter if you are young or old.  But receiving the gift is not automatic.  God calls you to receive it, to take it – and that’s called faith. 



 Let’s imagine that you and are in an amazing spaceship that is traveling in orbit around the earth.  This spaceship has a special type of sensor that can listen in on all the prayers being said to God – prayers spoken out loud or prayers just spoken silently.  Our spaceship travels over all the places of the earth – North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and even Antarctica. (Write PRAY lengthwise on the board)

What do you think we’d hear when we put on our headphones and turn on the sensor that hears the prayers?

(wait for answers)

Write PRAY on the board, then add in smaller letters


Now think of all the prayers we imagined we heard.  If these 4 words help us think of ways we pray to God, which one best describes the prayers we heard?

God really does want to know what we need and what we’re concerned about – the things we’d ask for – let’s turn to Matthew 7:7-11
(God wants us to ask and he will give us what we need).  But God wants more than just asking when we talk to him.

But imagine if I was talking to you, and every time I talked with you, all I talked about was what I needed.  God wants us to talk to him about what we need, but there are other important things beyond what we need.

Let’s begin with the “P” – praise.  Let’s say I saw Gian practice hard in soccer and I watched him play a game.  I watched all that hard work pay off when he was able to move around several opponents and get the ball right into the goal.  What could I say to Gian that would praise him?
(you’re becoming a strong part of the team)

We see something about Gian and tell him.  God wants praise too, not because he’s a great soccer player, but mostly because he’s wonderful beyond anything humans are.  God isn’t proud to want praise.  He’s the only one who is worth it, worthy to be praised.  Turn to Revelation 4:11
(read it)
Here’s just one reason God is worth praising – He’s the Creator and what a creation He made!!!
Praise means – wow, God, you’re amazing!

Repent – or “sorry” prayers:
We know the Bible tells us we are all sinners – Romans 3:23.  Jeremiah 17:9
God has made a way for us to be forgiven – but part of that forgiveness involves something called “repenting”.  Maybe you’ve done something wrong – maybe fought with your brother or sister, and your mom says – say you’re sorry – and you say (wait for kids)…sorry.  And maybe 1 minute later, when mom’s out of the room, you hit your sister for telling mom on you.
Hm – repenting?  Sorry?  What do you think?
Repenting looks more like this:  Turn to Psalm 51
Psalm 51:3&4 (I’m wrong and guilty)
51:17 – broken hearted – sorrow, sad
Forgive me – 51:2
Change me – 51:10

What does God think of a prayer like this?  Is he mad at me when I sin?  He hates sin, but what does He think of someone who is truly sorry?
(read 51:17 again)

Ask – we know well about this

Yield – (have an object and invite someone forward – have us both hold onto it, and then give it to him/her)
What did I just do?  I yielded.

Remember last week when we talked about saying “You’re not the boss of me”? 
We can push God away and tell him He has no business telling us how to live.  But when we decide to follow Jesus, we agree that God is the boss of me.
We “yield” to God and let Him be the boss.  And that is the best decision we can make.  If God is Creator, and what he does is the best, we make a very, very smart decision to yield to God.

So now we know there’s lots more to prayer than just asking.  (Review).

Now I have an important question for you:

Is there anyone you pray for and who prays for you?

The Bible tells us that God listens to prayers.  He will listen to you when you ask Him to help someone else.  He will listen to someone else who asks Him to help you.  But He wants you to ask.

So who could that person be who might say – yes, I’ll pray for you not just today, but often?  Who would you be willing to pray for not just today but often?

I want to give you 2 gifts from 2 people at Westerly who thought these would be really helpful – these bracelets were created to be in twos – one to keep and one to give to someone with the promise to pray for one another. (These silicone bracelets were from a National Day of Prayer event).

(Hand out bracelets).

T&T Leaders, please take one and help it remind you to pray for your handbook kids.
Once everyone gets 2 bracelets, put one on yourself and keep the other to give away.
On the outside of the bracelets are the letters PRAY, and on the inside are the words we just talked about.

So to close, I want you to put on your bracelet and then put your other hand on it.
God, we’re sorry that sometimes all we do is ask you for things and don’t ever tell you we’re sorry for the sins we do, or tell you that you are wonderful.  We’re sorry that we live like we’re the bosses, but you really are the boss.

Lord,  let these bracelets help us find a friend who will pray for us – special prayer friends. 


Table with newspaper
Sharp small knife
Large pumpkin
Candle and matches

We’ve been talking this fall about the huge love God has for you and me and the world – a love that gave us this wonderful book, the Bible, so we could know who God is.  A huge love that helps us when we are in trouble. 

Today, with Halloween so close, we’re going to use this beautiful big pumpkin to help us understand better the greatest way God helps us, and I need a few readers:

(Have on index cards)

Jeremiah 17:9
1 John 1:9
2 Corinthians 5:17
Matthew 5:14-16

And finally I need a 6th grader to help me up front.

So I’ve already gotten this pumpkin started a bit, but x, can you finish opening it up at the top?  Let’s tip over the pumpkin so everybody sees what’s inside.  Why don’t you get  your hands right into that stuff! 

·         How is the stuff x is pulling out of the pumpkin like the sin that we have in our hearts?  (Jeremiah 17:9)

Okay, let’s clean it out.  We’re pulling it out all that slimy, nasty stuff and cleaning it out, aren’t we?  Let’s have x read 1 John 1:9

When we put our faith in Jesus, he helps us by removing the sin that pushes God away from us.  That’s called God’s forgiveness. 

·         How is forgiveness like cleaning out the pumpkin?

Okay, x, let’s draw a happy face on this pumpkin because God is doing something really wonderful here!  While x is cutting the face out, x, please read 2 Cor. 5:17

·         How is x making this pumpkin into something new?  How does Jesus make us new creations?

Well, this pumpkin looks mighty fine – it’s cleaned out, is new a jack-o-lantern, but it’s kind of dark inside, isn’t it?  I think it needs some light inside.

(put candle inside pumpkin and light it, put on lid).

Could we have our final reader read Matt. 5:14-16

(Turn off room lights)
·         How is the light in the pumpkin like the way God wants us to shine?

·         How does God want our light to shine before others?  How did we do this in a small way tonight? (Not so people will notice us, but so they think about God)

If you made a beautiful jack-o-lantern like this, would you light it and then put it in a closet?  No?  Why not?

So Jesus says – when we have become new creations in Jesus, we need to be with people, to help them learn about Jesus and his great gift of forgiveness too.

“Build my Life”


Beginning tonight, we’re starting a 10-week series:
It matters how I live

Tonight we want to begin by thinking about who has the authority to tell us what to do.  You and I have many people in our lives who have authority over us.  Can you think of some:

·                                             parents
·                                             police/judges
·                                             teachers
·                                             many adults
·                                             soldiers

What makes it easy to obey someone in authority?
What makes it hard?


·                                             I believe they care about me
·                                             I think they are asking me to do something good for me
·                                             I trust them
·                                             they have thought it through before asking me

Why not?
·                                             They don’t care about me
·                                             They have dumb rules
·                                             I don’t trust them
·                                             they are asking me to do something that is bad for me

It isn’t always easy to obey people in authority, is it?  Sometimes we want to do what WE WANT to do! 

I want you to get out your Bibles and look at the very last book of the Bible - Revelation.  This book is about the end of time - how God will finally destroy all things that are evil and God will reign as King without any enemies.

Turn to chapter 19:11-16
Now this is a powerful word picture, isn’t it?  What things did you notice about the person on the horse?

·                                             faithful
·                                             true
·                                             righteous judge
·                                             makes war
·                                             eyes on fire
·                                             crowned
·                                             word of God
·                                             armies following him
·                                             king of king
·                                             lord of lords

Now what does it mean, king of kings, lord of Lords?

What kind of a Lord is Jesus?
Faithful - he never betrays or tricks you
He is true - he never lies to you
he cares about true and hates evil
he is powerful

What would it mean to have Jesus be Lord of your life?
What would Jesus ask you to do?

Sometimes we’re afraid that Jesus will ask us to do impossible things or that he will ask us to do the very hardest thing we could imagine.  Or that he will hurt us somehow.  Let’s see what the Bible says about the plans God has for you and me

Jeremiah 29:11

What kinds of plans does God have?
For wholeness and not for evil
to give you future and a hope

Now let’s imagine this circle is you.  Let’s write inside all the things that make you up:


Inside let’s put a chair.  Whoever sits in that chair decides what to do with all the parts of your life.  Let’s pretend this is me.  And so I’ll write my name -  “Mary” on the chair.  Everybody who has ever been born sits in this center place in their lives.

Now let’s imagine that something new has happened to me.  I have understood that I have sinned against God and deserve His punishment.  I am sorry for all the wrong things I have done.  And I have asked God to forgive me.  I understand that God sent Jesus into the world to take my punishment and give me His goodness.  This is great news.  And God will forgive me the next time I sin and ask Him to forgive me.

But God wants me to begin to change - and He wants to be Lord of me.  Can I trust him?  Will he want the best for me?  Are his laws good?  Yes.

(Erase Mary and put God)

I hope you understand that it is not easy to say “yes” to God in this way.  The will to run our own lives is very, very strong.  But when we are on the seat, our own plans are often not good at all for us.   It may be easy to say “yes” to God in one place, and harder in another.  You and I need to grow in our trust that having God in control is the very best thing for us.

Are you willing to do what Jesus wants?  Who is in control?  Are you in the control seat? 

Psalm 119:37
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.