“God is like the potter”


This is a brilliant activity to use when covering themes such as “making mistakes”, “God’s plan for my life”, “Starting again”, “Being shaped in God’s image”. You’ll need enough Play Dough (or similar) for each child to have a blob.

http://www.scriptureunion.org.uk/LightLive/Activity/The_potters_house-Bible_story-rhyme/82405.id?activityid=5110

 

David vs Absalom Simple Retelling

David vs Absalom

(Props you might want to use: long-haired wig, crown)

David had a lot of sons – in fact he had 19 sons in total! And one of his sons was called Absalom – and Absalom was the trickiest son of them all! The Bible also tells us that no-one in all the land was as handsome as Absalom – he had no defects and long, flowing hair and he was well-liked.

Now, Absalom sometimes made some bad decisions and, from time to time, he fell out with his father, David – and, it seems, that Absalom did not think much of his dad. He spent time out and about in the city and, whenever anyone wanted to complain about something, Absalom used to say that the king didn’t want to listen to them! “If I was king”, he would have said, “I would listen to you…”

Yes, Absalom wanted to be king in the place of his dad! And, one day, Absalom gathered his men and prepared to attack and take the crown for himself!

But David hadn’t been king for so long for no reason – he found out about Absalom’s plot and he and his men went on the run! Yes, once again, David was forced to hide out from someone who was trying to kill him! David still had friends in the city who were loyal to him and, whenever Absalom made plans against his father, David’s friends gave Absalom bad advice and sent warnings to David.

Then, one day, the battle was on – David and his men put on their armour and prepared to go out and fight against Absalom but, just before they went out to fight, David’s men asked David to stay at home – they didn’t want the king to be in danger. David really wanted to fight but he agreed with his men.

So the battle was on in a nearby forest and Absalom was doing well in the fight – he pranced around on his horse until… uh-oh! His hair got caught in a tree! He was stuck! There was no-where for him to go, there was no-one to help him… and then David’s men came closer and closer with their spears and… they killed him! Absalom was gone.

David was told about the news – and how do you think he reacted? He cried and cried. He was so sad. Even though Absalom had hurt David, David still loved him.

That reminds me about how God thinks about us – we make mistakes and sometimes we don’t love God the way that we should but He never stops loving us. Never.

David lived for many years after that and died, an old man, in Jerusalem. One of his sons, Solomon, took over from him and was a wise and good king for the most of his reign, but Israel never had as good a king as David ever again… until a baby was born in Bethlehem almost one thousand years later…

David’s anointing – StoryBox


This story is told using a StoryBox or a StorySack – various items are placed inside the box or sack and, as they’re removed, you tell the next part of the story. Once you’ve told the story, replace the items and ask a child to retell the story, using the items as a prompt.

The items you’ll need are:

A smiley face, an angry face, a bottle of oil/cup, heart-shape, loud speaker (or make your own with a cone of card), a crown, a broken crown, measuring tape,  sheep

The king of God’s people was a man called Saul (CROWN) but Saul had not led as he was supposed to – he had turned away from following God with his whole heart and God decided that another would become king (BROKEN CROWN).

Samuel was God’s prophet (LOUD SPEAKER) – that means he told them people what God wanted them to know – God told Samuel that it was his job to anoint the new king. That just means that he went to meet the new king and was to pour oil over his head, to show that he was special and set apart (BOTTLE OF OIL).

Now, Samuel knew that if Saul heard that Samuel was anointing new kings, he would be furious (ANGRY FACE), so God told him that all Samuel had to do was meet the family of a man called Jesse and make a sacrifice to the Lord with them. I will show you what to do when you get there, said God.

When Samuel met Jesse he saw that Jesse had seven strapping sons! (MEASURING TAPE, showing their height and breadth) Aha! Thought Samuel – one of these guys must be the man God wants to be the new king.

But God spoke to Samuel, as He so often did – don’t look at their looks, Samuel. People always look at the outside, but I look at people’s hearts! (HEART SHAPE)

So, one by one, Jesse’s big, tough sons walked past Samuel and, one by one, God said, “no, not this one – this isn’t my new king”

Finally, all seven sons had walked past and God had said no to them all! Samuel asked Jesse – are these all your sons?!

Well… no, there’s one more – the youngest, David. I didn’t think you’d want to meet him – he’s out watching the sheep. (SHEEP TOY)

Get him, Samuel said so they did – and along came David. Young, handsome and God said, “This one!” So Samuel anointed him and David was God’s chosen king… but it wasn’t as easy as that, because Saul was still between David and the throne and he wasn’t going to give it up easily…

Explaining ‘authority’

I was talking with a group of children about Jesus’ authority to forgive sins and heal people. Some of them struggled with the idea of ‘authority’ so we talked about it by showing them a number of cards of people who help us:

doctor, dentist, bus driver, teacher, firefighter, police officer etc

We then asked some questions, such as:

Who has the authority to give me medicine if I am sick?
Who has the authority to drill holes in my teeth?
Who has the authority to drive you home from school?
Who has the authority to drive a fire engine?
Who has the authority to give you homework?
Who has the authority to put criminals in prison?

If someone else (like me!) tried to do any of these jobs I’d be in trouble because I don’t have the authority to do these things – I’m not able to do them, I’m not allowed to do them. These people can do these jobs because of who they are.

When it comes to forgiving sins and healing people, Jesus has the authority to do these things because of who He is – He is God’s own son, and the only one who has lived a perfect life.

What other things does Jesus have the authority to do? authority-boss-red-man

Storytelling Easter Eggs

Easter is almost upon us again and that means that, like me, your house has probably got a few of these in it (show Easter egg).

What is the best thing about Easter eggs? (take answers – they have a packet of sweets with them; they’re delicious; they’re made of chocolate; they’re a cool shape etc)

(If you have enough types of Easter eggs to hand, you could vote on your favourite egg)

I think the best thing about Easter eggs is that they’re really good storytellers!

Y’see, Easter eggs can tell us the story of the first Easter… here’s how:

The people of Israel were trapped, as though inside a box (show egg in box) – they weren’t really trapped inside anything, but they were trapped in the ways they thought and lived – they were always trying to live perfect lives and they kept on getting it wrong and making mistakes. They were worried that God would not love them if they kept on making mistakes but they didn’t know what else to do, so they felt sad and hopeless and trapped.

But then Jesus came. Jesus was not like the other people – He showed them how to live (take egg out of the box). He showed them what God is like; He showed them how to love; He healed them when they were sick… He was perfect when they were not. It was like He freed them from a wrong way of thinking and showed them that there was another way to live. (Show sweets that come with the egg) He made their lives sweeter and gave them good things.

(Put egg aside)

But they still worried about the mistakes they made – they needed someone to take away all the bad things… so Jesus helped them there as well. He died on the cross to take the blame for all the wrong things in the world ever, so that people could be sure that God loves them and that these wrong things weren’t getting in the way.

(Open the box out to show a cross (this is something you might like to prepare earlier))

Jesus died and was buried in a cave, and a large stone (show egg) was rolled in front of the cave’s entrance.

And that was the end of the story…

Except it wasn’t! The egg has something else to tell us: on the third day after His death, some of Jesus’ friends went to visit His grave and they found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance of the cave! When they looked inside the cave, they found that it was (open egg) empty!

Jesus is God’s Son, and Jesus is perfect, so He didn’t stay dead! He rose again and is still alive today!

So that’s how an Easter egg can tell you the story of the first Easter – the people were boxed up in wrong ways of thinking, but Jesus came to help them think in a different way; He gave them good things and died in their place. He was buried in a cave, but came back to life again. Forever!

Jesus heals the Paralysed Man… told with Story Sticks

Story Sticks are a great, easy way to tell almost any Bible story (go on, challenge yourself to see how you get on with a random passage).

  
For those who haven’t used them before, the easiest way to make a set of story sticks is to cut an A4 sheet into four strips lengthways and to attach the strips using split pins so you have a row of four sticks.

This handout walks you through how to tell a very familiar Bible story.

Paralysed man card

Easter Sunday, early in the morning…

A short drama taken from John’s Gospel:

  

Cast:            Peter, John and Mary Magdalene

 

Peter and John are sitting in the Upper Room. They’re dressed in dark clothes and are upset.

 

Peter (sad, downcast, talking to the children): Something terrible’s happened – It happened the day before yesterday and I just can’t get over it. Our leader, our master, our teacher, a man called Jesus – someone we thought would never leave us… well, He died on Friday… in fact, He was murdered.

 

John: The whole day was a nightmare – there were some men called Pharisees who were really jealous of Jesus and they wanted to kill Him so they had Him arrested. One of our friends, Judas, betrayed us and told the soldiers were Jesus was. The strange thing was that Jesus allowed the soldiers to take Him away.

 

Peter: He was taken to the palace and, after a lot of questions and people being really unkind to Him, Jesus was taken to a place called Calvary and that’s where they crucified Him.

 

John: It really is that worst thing that could happen because we thought Jesus was someone really special… we thought He was the Son of God… but how can the Son of God be dead!? It just doesn’t make…

 

(Suddenly Mary interrupts them by rushing in)

 

Mary: Peter, John! I’ve seen Him! I’ve seen Him!

 

Peter: Who, Mary? Who have you seen?

 

Mary: Jesus! I’ve seen Him!

 

John: Mary, that’s not fair – you shouldn’t joke about that sort of thing.

 

Mary: I’m not joking! Let me tell you what happened.

 

Peter: OK, Mary, what happened this morning?

 

Mary: (Talking to the children now with Peter and John looking on) Well, early this morning, Salome, James’ mum and I went to the cave where Jesus had been buried so that we could pour some oils and spices on His body – that’s what we do in this part of the world. Anyway, when I got there I discovered something really strange: When Jesus’ body was put in the cave a huge stone was put at the entrance so that no-one could get in but, when we arrived, we found that the stone was rolled away! I looked inside the cave and found that Jesus’ body wasn’t there anymore!

 

Peter (getting angry):       WHAT? What do you mean? Where was His body? Has somebody taken it!?

 

Mary: No, Peter, listen. There were two… I don’t know…. I thought they were men but they were shining. I think they might have been angels. I was really upset when I couldn’t find His body because, like you Peter, I thought someone had taken His body away. I started to cry and I turned around to find someone to see if they could tell me what was going on. (To the children) Do you know the way when you cry that it’s sometimes hard to see because your eyes are full of tears? Well, I was like that and I almost bumped into a man in the garden. I was crying really hard by then and He said: “Why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” I said to Him: “They’ve taken my Lord’s body! I don’t know where they have put Him…” Then the man said one word; He said, “Mary” and I looked up and… it wasn’t a gardener at all – it was Jesus! Alive! He told me to come and tell you that He was alive so that you can see Him before He goes to Heaven!

 

John: What?! He’s alive?! I’ve gotta go see this for myself! Come on, Peter! Let’s go and look at that empty tomb!

 

(Peter and John run out)

 

Mary: Jesus is alive! This is the best day ever! We thought that everything was lost – we thought He was dead forever but He’s not dead. This means that He really is Who He said He was – He’s the Son of God! I’ve got to run – this is such good news that I’ve got to tell everyone!

 

(Mary leaves)

Rich Farmer / Poor Widow

Here’s a simple puppet script to open a discussion with children about tithing and the different attitudes there may be.

  
The Rich Farmer and the Poor Widow

What’s better, boys and girls: is it better to have loads of money, or to have very little money?

Most people would think it’s better to be rich, but we’re going to hear two stories today to help us think about that… The first story is a story that Jesus told, and the second story is something Jesus saw.

This is Jesus’ story:

Once upon a time, there was a farmer.

(Bring up farmer)

This farmer was a very rich farmer.

(Farmer nods)

In fact, he was so rich that when the time came for the crops to be harvested in from the fields, he had so much food that he didn’t know what to do with it!

(Farmer shakes his head)

But then the farmer had a brainwave!

(Farmer looks excited!)

Do you think his good idea was to throw a party for all his friends?

(Farmer shakes his head)

No. Do you think his good idea was to give the extra food away?

(Farmer shakes his head)

No. Do you think his good idea was to have a special service to give thanks to God?

(Farmer shakes his head)

No! The farmer’s idea was to knock down all his old barns because they were too small.

(Farmer echoes: Too small!)

And then the farmer built bigger barns to put all his food into.

(Farmer says, Hooray!)

The farmer thought it was better to be rich than to give thanks to God. He thought it was better to be rich than to be generous. But Jesus said that this is NOT how God wants us to live. God wants us to, especially at Harvest time, give thanks to God for His goodness to us, and to be generous to those around us.

(Take farmer away)

One day, Jesus and His friends were in the temple. They saw people come. They saw people go. Lots of people who came wanted to give money to the work of the temple – people still do that today in Church and in Sunday School.

Jesus and His friends watched as person after person came in and gave their money in to help the work of the temple (Have a collection box to one side)

(Bring up a puppet – walks along the top of the theatre and shouts something like, “Please use all this money to help people”)

(Bring up another puppet… “Please use this money to fix the temple roof”)

(Bring up another puppet… “Please use this to give to the poor”)

But then along came a lady who didn’t look as though she had much money. (Bring puppet up and puppet acts this out)

Slowly she walked to the collection box and dropped in two little pennies. Then she went away.

Maybe Jesus’ friend were wondering what Jesus would say – would He be cross that the lady didn’t have much money to give to God and to the temple?

But, no Jesus wasn’t cross! He said this, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave money it’s true, but they were very rich! But she is very poor and still she gave money.”

Two very different people – a rich farmer and a poor widow – using money in very different ways. What did Jesus think about that? Why?