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.