Thursday, November 14, 2013



Globe, pitcher, torn paper from previous lesson
Paper cross made to fit over the torn part of the paper, tape
Small present box (optional)

Last week we talked about why Sin IS such a big deal, and maybe you remember I used 3 things to help us understand it.

The first was this piece of paper that I tore.  Who remembers what that helps us understand?

And the globe?  - do you remember the verse that taught us that?

And finally, the pitcher of poison?  And why is that true?  Romans 6:23

At the end of last week, I told you that there is very, very good news alongside this bad news, and tonight we’re going to look at that.  It comes at the second half of Romans 6:23.  Let’s say it together:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Now this gift of  God is so very simple to receive – God calls you and me to believe in Jesus.  That is called faith.  You don’t have to be good to earn God’s gift of eternal life.  You don’t have to pray really really hard to get it.  You don’t have to promise never to sin every again to get it.  It is a free gift.  God says – will you take it?

But it is a gift that cost more than we can understand.  And that’s what we’re going to think about today.

The Bible tells us that when Jesus died on the cross, he died for all our sins.  My sins, your sins, sins of people who lived long ago, people who aren’t even born yet, people who live in China, in India, in France, in Canada (point to globe).  Small sins, big sins.  Every sin.  Every sin that deserves what? (hold up poison) – death.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to pay for my own sins – to drink the poison I’ve earned.  I certainly can’t imagine taking another person’s sin or two or three.  I have my own poison, and can’t handle any more!  What might it be like to take the sins of all of you?  How much poison could I handle?

Who could do that?  Nobody.  Nobody could take my place even if they loved me, because they are sinners too, right? 

Maybe people wish God would just say sin doesn’t matter.  But God is holy – perfectly good – and He can’t do that.  And God knew that.  He could have just said – you sinned, you live with the consequences.  And we really couldn’t tell God he wasn’t fair, could we? 
But thank God, he is fair AND he is also kind, and full of mercy.  And God found a way, and only He could have done it.

The only way the sin of the world could be taken away was if there was someone who loved us enough to take on all the punishment we earned, and didn't sin.  This person had to be so strong that he could handle the poison from me, and you and thousands and thousands of sinners, and drink that poison.  And that person was Jesus.  But how could Jesus do it?

Here is God's marvelous plan.  Jesus was human, just like you and me, right?  But he was also something else – He was God.  And that is how he was the only one who could save us.  Jesus had to be human – become like us – to die for us.  But he couldn’t sin, or he would need to drink the poison for himself, right?  The Bible is clear that Jesus was the only human being who never, never sinned.  But that  wasn’t enough just to not be a sinner.

No human is strong enough to take on the evil of the world.  Only God is strong enough to take on all the evil of this world and win!   That’s why God’s plan allowed Jesus to be full human and fully God. 

When Jesus was nailed to a cross, every sin, ever lie, every murder, every hateful word, every punch, every sin was put on him.  Sins from every part of the globe (point to globe) and when God the father saw the horrible, evil sins on His very own Son, God turned away from Jesus.  (hold up torn pages).  Jesus was separated from God.  And Jesus died.  He drained every bit of poison out on himself.

And if that was the end of the story, how could we ever know that God’s plan worked?
We KNOW it worked because 3 days after Jesus died, something totally wonderful, totally crazy, totally fantastic happened!  (have kids answer)

When Jesus rose from the dead, it was the proclamation that God’s rescue plan worked!  Jesus was stronger than all the sins in the world, he was stronger than the poison that he took.  He won!  And that’s why Christians think Easter is the very best day ever!

But God’s gift doesn’t stop there.  This is a 2-part gift!  Not only does Jesus take the sins of the world upon that cross, but he gives us back His goodness.  All my sins are taken away and in their place, Jesus gives me His goodness.  That’s how even though I’m still a sinner, I can be called God’s child!  Jesus’ goodness is MINE!  And God’s love pours into me.  Am I perfect?  Not at all!  But I’m forgiven!

(take paper pieces and tape together with cross in the middle).

And now the choice is yours.  We know SIN is a big deal.  And we know it’s a killer.  But we know that God made a way for the poison of sin to be taken by another who was stronger than sin.  It is a mighty gift – a very, very costly gift.  Have you ever received it?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sin IS a Big Deal


Piece of paper with “God and Me” written in large letters
Bottle labeled “poison”

I want you to think about a time when you got hurt – not too bad – maybe a cut or a skinned knee.  Maybe you cried or maybe you thought – hey, no big deal.

There are lots of things that aren’t a big deal, but there are some things that really are BIG DEALS.  (Ask kids what they think are the biggest problems in the world today – write on the board)

What could fix them?
What problems seem beyond fixing?

Let’s think of these problems a little differently.  Let’s imagine that all the problems we wrote down are actually pointing to a much deep sickness in this world – not a sickness like the flu or a disease like malaria, but a sickness of the heart.

Some problems can be fixed.  It’s wonderful to hear about new drugs that are helping with malaria, or better ways of cleaning the air.  But most of the big problems in this world can’t be fixed by small fixes.  Because humans keep polluting, or hurting one another, or take more than they need and leave others hungry. 
It reminds me of the verse in Jeremiah 17:9 you all learned in your Start Zone – the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick, who can understand it? 

I want us to think of 3 big ways sin is a BIG DEAL.

But first, let’s be sure we know  what sin is (ask kids)
I want to give you an easy way to understand what sin is.  Sin is anything we think, say, or do that breaks God’s laws.

So what might be some sins kids do?
(kids will mention easy sins – stealing a cookie, disobeying mom.  Push to get to bigger categories – selfishness, anger, jealousy, fights, hating)
Deep down – sin is telling God – you’re not the boss of me!

Another verse you learned in your Start Zone was Romans 3:23 – who knows it?
(Get out 3 props and put on a table so the kids can see)

So why is sin such a big deal to God?

First, sins a big deal because everybody does it.  Sometimes we think – there are people who do big sins, like murder and God is really mad at them.  But we think that the rest of us do little sins – a little lie, a little stealing, a mean word to someone on our team at game time, a little shove to your younger brother or sister  – but we think God looks at the good things we do and he says – oh, (clubber), it’s okay.    You do much more good than you do bad.  So we think we’re not too bad.  But the bible says everybody sins.  You can’t travel to another place in this world to get away from sin.  So I’m going to put the globe up here to help us remember that all have sinned.

Here’s a second reason sin’s such a big deal.  The bible tells us that God is good – totally good – and he hates evil.  So one reason sin is so awful is that it separates us from God.  I’m going to use this piece of paper to help us remember that.  (piece of paper with us and God – tear it to separate Me from God).  It makes us enemies of God.

Finally, God says sin is deadly.  God makes such a big deal about sin because the wages of sin for everybody is – what?  death.  Until we understand that, we can’t really understand why sin is such a big deal to God and to us!

To help us remember that, here’s a bottle that I want you to imagine has something very, very deadly in it.  There is a poison called cyanide that is so strong, if you mixed a teaspoon in water, and drank it, you’d be dead in 15 seconds.  Who would drink something like that?  You wouldn’t.  But God says sin is far more dangerous, and far more deadly than cyanide.  The wages of sin is death, so we drink the poison.

Let’s see if you remember it –

The globe reminds us (have them answer) - that sin is a big deal because all have sinned.
The torn pages reminds us that sin is a big deal because (let them answer) it separates us from God
And finally, the poison reminds us that sin is fatal – there’s no cure and the wages is death.  No matter how good you are, how kind, how obedient, how many AWANA verses you learn, how many toys you share – when you sin, sin wins and you die. 

Now that’s pretty bad news, isn’t it?

And most of the time we really, really don’t like to think about this.  But sometimes we have to face hard news.  But I urge you to keep listening.  Until you realize you’re sick, you won’t go to a doctor.  (at this point I brought up a child, and had the kids imagine I was his doctor.  I told them I knew he had a serious disease, but I didn't want to tell him because it would make him sad.  I said I 'loved" him too much to tell him bad news.  We talked about how sometimes you have to tell someone bad news because they won't get better unless you do.)  Until you see how sick your soul is, you won’t see that you need Jesus.

And in fact, this is the way God begins to work in us, to help us see how bad a place we are in, and how much we need Him.  It’s actually a good thing that you feel a bit uncomfortable.  Until you do, you won’t reach out for God.

Your Start Zone ended with this verse –
John 3:36

Whoever believes in the Son will have eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him. 

God has made a way for the whole world to be forgiven, a way for God and you to be friends, and not enemies (tape paper together), a way for you to live and not die, even though you sin (take bottle off table). 

We’ll learn more about that next week.

Friday, November 1, 2013

God as Creator


Apron dusted with flour
empty bag of chocolate chips
Sign:  Creator of Toll House Cookies

Invite someone to come up and be our special guest – wrap apron around her, give her a cookie sheet and the script.  Maybe brush a little flour on her cheek and nose.

I want to welcome tonight a very special guest – someone who created something that I think most of you love, love, love!  Her name is Mrs. Ruth Wakefield.  And she’s going to tell us what she created.
(Have her read attached script - see end of blog)

After she reads the script, put around her neck a sign saying


We would say Mrs. X is the creator of chocolate chip cookies.  And that’s right because she had the big idea to mix chunks of chocolate with the cookies.  But in some ways she couldn’t be the creator.

Let’s think of the ingredients that go into chocolate chip cookies:

Brown sugar & white sugar

Did Mrs. Wakefield use flour or did she create flour?
Did she use eggs or create eggs?
Did she use salt or create salt?

So what does it mean to create something?
(ask kids)

I’m sorry, Mrs. Wakefield – I think I need to fix your sign – In MY opinion, it should reads –


Now why should I talk about chocolate chip cookies – even though they are SOOOO delicious?  Well, it’s because today we’re beginning a series of talks I’m calling:
It Matters What You Believe.

Already tonight, you may guess what the big idea for tonight is – what was the word I crossed out on Mrs. Wakefield’s sign (hold up sign)
So our big idea tonight is:  It matters that you believe God is Creator.

I don’t know about you, but I am so very glad Mrs. Ruth Wakefield made those first cookies!  I bet someone who ate one of the first cookies would have said – HEY – THESE ARE GREAT!  WHO MADE THESE??
        When Got made this world – as you learn if you read Genesis 1-3 – He made it out of nothing, no dirt, no water, no chemicals, no atoms – absolutely nothing – nada, nichts, rien!  Some call this creation ex nihilo
        Unlike Mrs. Wakefield, who used items in her kitchen to make cookies, there was absolutely nothing but God alone and then he created.  Really created – something from nothing.  And what are some of the things He created?
All fit together in an amazing creation delicately balanced.  I wonder – have you ever had a moment when he or she thinks – WHO MADE ALL THIS??  (ask kids to raise hands)

Scientists ask the question – where did our world come from?  And they explore outer space, and layers of the earth, and old bones to put together a picture of what life was like long, long ago on earth, and how life itself could have begun.

They know that carbon is absolutely for life to begin, but to this point they can’t take various compounds like Mrs. Wakefield’s recipe and create life.  And even if they did, it would be using what’s already there to make life, where the Bible tells us God made the universe out of nothing!  It is a huge mystery, and scientists LOVE mysteries.
        If you love science, don’t think that you have to give it up to follow Jesus.  There are many very good scientists who love God and the bible.  For some, it is their love of the world God made that began their interest in science in the first place! For others, a growing amazement at this world leads them closer to God. 

Many of you know about the scientist Albert Einstein who lived for many years in Princeton.  One time he said:
1.       The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe. We are like a little child entering a huge library. The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written these books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books—-a mysterious order which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects.

He says when he looks at the universe, he sees it is amazingly complex, but he also sees a definite plan – which leads him to wonder – who or what made all of this??
        Einstein was saying something the bible tells us too - that one way God lets everybody know He is real is by his Creation.  Romans 1:19-20
19 But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! 20 By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse.

So I hope you don’t miss the way the beautiful leaves outside, the cool air, the birds flying south, your baby brother or sister, all are ways God is saying – this is not by accident - I CREATED THIS!!

Mrs. Wakefield Script:

Hello, my name is Mrs. Ruth Wakefield.  Back in 1930, I owned the Toll House Inn with my husband Kenneth.  We loved serving home-cooked meals to our guests, and I loved to bake.

One day, I was preparing my favorite Butter Drop Do cookies from a recipe that goes back to the time of the Revolutionary War!  I added flour, butter, sugar and salt.  Yum!  But that day I decided to add something special.

I had a bar of Nestle chocolate and chopped it into tiny pieces and added it to the dough.  I thought the chocolate pieces would melt, but instead, surprise!  They held their shape, and made the cookies absolutely delicious!

My new cookie called toll house cookies – were so popular that a Boston newspaper published the recipe and the Nestle company began making chocolate morsels.  Who would have guessed that in 2013, people still make and love my cookie creation!