Saturday, January 31, 2009



20 balloons with 10 Commandments and other laws written on them. Here is my list:

1. No other gods. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: All nations will be blessed through you. - Galatians 3:8
2. No carved images.
3. Don't take God's name in vain.
4. Keep the Sabbath holy.
5. Honor your mother & father.
6. Don't murder.
7. Don't commit adultery.
8. Don't steel.
9. Don't lie.
10. Don't covet.
11. Don't eat pork.
12. Stay away from blood.
13. Don't cheat others.
14. Give tenth of everything to God.
15. Feed the hungry.
16. Comfort the sick.
17. Help the poor.
18. Don’t call anyone bad names.
19. Forgive debts.
20. Don't go to fortunetellers.

Treats for everyone.

Verse(s): Acts 13:38-39

Goal: Provide an object lesson demonstrating the meaning of justification.

Set-up/Introduction: Discuss the Law in the old testament/covenant, and how the only way to right with God (righteous) is to keep the law perfectly. Produce a bag with the first 10 balloons and explain that if they can keep all ten balloons afloat, they will get their prize.

Activity: Start throwing first 10 balloons in the air reading each caption. Pickup any balloons that hit the ground explaining that this is a law they have broken.
Start introducing the next 10 balloons explaining that there are other laws that had to be kept.
After a period of time, have children catch the remaining balloons and have a seat. (I did not time this, but it would probably be a good idea.)

Conclusion: Quickly review the number of laws they broke vs. the number they did not. The rule was that not a single balloon could hit the ground to get your prize. But I am going to give you your prize anyway. This is called "grace".
The old covenant said that not a single law could be broken. You had to be perfect to be right with God. But no one can be perfect. As Christians, Christ was perfect for us, so we are made right with God by His grace.

Today we read, "Brothers, listen! In this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in him is freed from all guilt and declared right with God--something the Jewish law could never do." (Acts 13:38-39 NLT) This is called being justified which means as Christians it is "just-as-if-I'd" never sinned.

Continue discussion of justification, grace, etc.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Light of God's Wisdom

Scripture Reference: Proverbs 4:18-19, James 1:5

A puppet skit showing that you shouldn't bang around in the dark when you can ask for a light.

D.B. – a good albeit not very bright bunny
KELLI – the teacher who sets him straight
So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours? - 1 Kings 3:9
Pots, pans, etc. for making noise
A flashlight or lantern

(Opens with KELLI on stage D.B. down in his rabbit hole.)

KELLI: D.B.? Are you ready to do tonight's lesson?

D.B.: (calling up from rabbit hole) I sure am, but why is it so dark, Miss Kelli?

KELLI: We're having Flashlight Night at AWANA, so all of the lights are turned off.

D.B.: How exciting! But I do not have a flashlight.

KELLI: Why not?

D.B.: Because I am a rabbit, silly.

KELLI: Well, sure but…

D.B.: Rabbits do not have flashlights.

KELLI: I understand, but I thought…

D.B.: How would we turn them on. We do not even have opposable thumbs.

KELLI: I hadn't thought of that…

D.B.: And how would I even buy one. I do not have any pockets to carry money.

KELLI: That's true…

D.B.: I do not even have money, because I am a rabbit.

KELLI: I get it. You don't have a flashlight. Would you like to borrow mine?

D.B.: Oh, no. I do not need a flashlight. Rabbits have very good eyesight. It is from all the carrots, you know.

KELLI: I didn’t know that.

D.B.: You are learning all kinds of things tonight, Miss Kelli.

KELLI: I guess I am, D.B. (pauses) So are you coming up?

D.B.: You mean in the dark?

KELLI: Yes, in the dark.

D.B.: But it is so scary.

KELLI: Are you coming up or not?

D.B.: Okay, okay. I am on my way. (Sounds of crashing.)

KELLI: Are you all right, D.B.?

D.B.: I am fine. (More crashing.)

KELLI: Do you need me to shine my flashlight down there?

D.B.: No, I can make just fine. Rabbits have very good eyesight. It is from all the carrots, you know.

KELLI: I recently heard that.

D.B.: Here I come. (More crashing, a long pause, still more crashing, then a really long pause.)


D.B.: Yes, Miss Kelli?

KELLI: Just checking to see if you are still with us.

D.B.: Can I ask you a question?

KELLI: Sure, D.B.

D.B.: Could you shine your flashlight down the rabbit hole.

KELLI: But I thought rabbits had very good eyesight. It's from all the carrots, you know.

D.B.: That is just an urban legend.

KELLI: I'd be happy to turn on my flashlight for you, D.B. (shines flashlight down rabbit hole)

D.B.: (pops up from the rabbit hole) Hi, Miss Kelli.


D.B.: When does tonight's lesson start?

KELLI: Five minutes ago.

D.B.: Good. Then I am just in time. What are we studying today?

KELLI: Proverbs 4:18-19 – The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.

D.B.: Hey! That sounds like me. I was in the dark and did not know what I was stumbling on.

KELLI: Funny how that works out. Isn't it?

D.B.: Does that mean I am wicked, Miss Kelli?!?

KELLI: No, D.B. It is a simile. The wicked aren't really in the dark, but they get into trouble and don't understand why.

D.B.: Well, that is not hard to understand. They just need a flashlight.

KELLI: (groaning) Sort of, D.B. They need God's wisdom to light their way.

D.B.: Well, of course. I am so silly, but I am not very good with smilies.

KELLI: (chuckling) That's similes, and that's okay, D.B. When you needed a light, what did you need to do?

D.B.: I just needed to ask, and you shined your flashlight for me.

KELLI: And I was happy to do it, D.B. In the same way, God is happy to shine the light of His wisdom on our lives if we will just ask. The book of James says, " If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

D.B.: That is all there is to it?

KELLI: That's all there is to it.

D.B.: And this is the lesson?

KELLI: And that's the lesson.

D.B.: So I can go now?

KELLI: So you can go now.

D.B.: (looks back and forth between rabbit hole and KELLI) But it is dark down there.

KELLI: Would you like me to shine my flashlight for you, D.B.?

D.B.: Yes, please.

KELLI: (shines flashlight down rabbit hole) There you go.

D.B.: Thank you , Miss Kelli.

KELLI: You're welcome, D.B.

D.B.: Bye, Miss Kelli.


D.B.D.B.: (slips down the rabbit hole)

Monday, January 12, 2009

What Are The Odds?

Scripture Reference: Acts 3:18, 2 Peter 1:20-21
But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.--Acts 3:18
Supplies: 1 or 2 silver dollars (optionally a dry-erase board or something large to write on)

Goal: To show that Jesus uniquely and supernaturally fulfills the Old Testament prophesies regarding the Messiah.

Set-up/Introduction: This morning we are going to have a lesson in math. We are going to talk about probability. Probability refers to the odds that something will happen, or not happen.

Demonstration 1:
If I flip this silver dollar, what are the odds that it will come up heads? 1/2
If I flip two coins, what are the odds that both will be heads? 1/4 (one chance right, three wrong)
If I flip three, the odds are 1/8. Each time I add a coin, the chance are twice as unlikely.
At 100 coins the odds are 1/1,267,650,600,228,230,000,000,000,000,000 (1 nonillion or a trillion, trillion, billion).
Would you say that is pretty much impossible? I know something even more impossible.

Demonstration 2:
What if I were to have child close his/her eyes and give this silver dollar to someone in this class. What are the chances she could guess who has it? (1/size of class).
What if I were to give it to anyone in Ennis? (~1/16,000)
The state of Texas? (~1/24,000,000)
The whole county? (~1/305,000,000)
The world? (~1/6.7 billion)
Would you say that is pretty much impossible? I know something even more impossible.

Demonstration 3:
What if I were to cover the floor with silver dollars, mark just one of them, and have a child walk around blindfolded then bend down and pickup one coin. How likely would it be that he would pick out that one coin? (an Eisenhower silver dollar is about 2"x2", so you would have to calculate the number of square inches and divide by 4)
What if I were to cover the whole building? (estimate)
The whole state? (if in Texas, see below, otherwise estimate)
Would you say that is pretty much impossible? I know something even more impossible.

Conclusion: You would have to cover the entire state of Texas with silver dollars two feet deep, to match the odds that one person would fulfill just eight Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah. That is one in one hundred million billion (1 followed by 17 zeros). This is millions of time greater than the total number of people who've ever lived.
If you consider 48 prophesies, the chances that one person would fulfill all of them is one in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion. If you take the number of atoms in our entire universe, it would take a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, billion (1 followed by 57 zeros) universes to have that many atoms.
"The odds alone say that it would be impossible for anyone to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies. Yet Jesus – and only Jesus through out all of history – managed to do it."

Source: Prophesy probabilities from The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel (p. 183)

Friday, January 2, 2009

To Tell the Truth

Scripture Reference: John 6:68, John 13:37-38, John 18:1-27, Mark 16:6-7, John 21:1- 19, Acts 2:37-42

The story of Simon Peter told game-show style.

Click here to learn more about To Tell the Truth.[Note: This one takes a bit of explaining. The story of Peter is told in the format of the To Tell the Truth game show. The format of the show will likely need to be explained to the kids before starting the skit. The way I have used this is to get three adults to play the Peters. Don't let them know in advance – that is part of the fun. I then give the kids the questions to ask them. This skit is good for Easter time or as a review.]

HOST – the only one who really knows what is going on.
PETER 1, PETER 2, PETER 3 – "volunteers" to play the real Peter and two imposters.

PANELISTS – ask questions of the Peters.

Scripts for Peters
Cards or slips of paper with questions

HOST: Welcome to To Tell the Truth. Will our contestants please introduce themselves.

PETER 1: My name is Simon Peter.
PETER 2: My name is Simon Peter.
PETER 3: My name is Simon Peter.

HOST: Here is his story: My name is Simon son of Jonah, and I am a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus called me Peter, the rock, even though I didn’t always act that way. After Jesus was arrested, I denied him three times, just as he predicted, but he forgave one morning by the Sea of Tiberias. On the day of Pentecost, I was filled with the Holy Sprit and became a leader in the early church.
Panelists, it is your job to ask the questions provided and determine which is the real Simon Peter.

Question 1
Peter, when Jesus asked you if you wanted to stop following Him, you said no. In John 6:68, what reason did you give him?

PETER 1: I told Him, “I think you are a really great guy.”
PETER 2: I told Him, “You have the words of eternal life.”
PETER 3: I told Him, “I am really hungry.”

Question 2
In the same conversation, you also declared that you had come to believe and know something about Jesus. What was that?

PETER 1: That Jesus really is a great guy.
PETER 2: That Jesus is the One whom God promised to send and that He is God’s Son.
PETER 3: That it was Jesus’ turn to pick a restaurant for lunch.

Question 3
In John 13:37, you stated your commitment to Jesus. What did you tell Jesus you would do?

PETER 1: I said, “I will clean my room for you.”
PETER 2: I said, “I will lay down my life for you."
PETER 3: I said, “I will pick a restaurant for Him.”

Question 4
You said in John 13:38 that you were prepared to die for Jesus. What did Jesus say to you? How did you feel when Jesus responded as He did? Why did you think He said this?

PETER 1: He said, “Are you prepared to die for Me.” I felt scared. I mean die? Yikes! That’s awfully permanent.
PETER 2: He said, "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” I was really surprised and hurt by his statement, but He said it because he REALLY knows me.
PETER 3: He said, “Just don’t pick McDonalds for lunch.” I was glad He said that. I think He was tired of hamburgers, too.

Question 5
Not long after this, you were reported to be with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. In John 18:1-11, we read that you tried to protect Jesus when soldiers came to arrest Him. What did you do? How did Jesus feel about what you did?

PETER 1: I ran away and wrote a nasty editorial to the Jerusalem Times.
PETER 2: I had a sword, drew it, and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. Jesus commanded me, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?"
PETER 3: We had gone to Taco Bell, and I held His taco from him. I think He appreciated it.

Question 6
We’re curious about what happened at the high priest’s house. We understand from John 18:15-17 that John went inside but you were stopped at the door. What happened?

PETER 1: John was smaller than I am, so he just slipped by.
PETER 2: John was known by high priest; I wasn’t. John got me in.
PETER 3: Food wasn’t allowed in the high priest’s house, so I had to finish my burrito before I went in.

Question 7
According to John 18:18 & 25, you had another chance to tell people that Jesus was your friend. What did you do?

PETER 1: I told them He is a really great guy.
PETER 2: I am sorry to say that I denied knowing Jesus.
PETER 3: I told them that I had just seen him at What-a-burger a couple of times.

Question 8
It’s reported in John 18:26-27 that yet another servant, a relative of the very man whose ear you had cut off, recognized you! He asked, “Didn’t I see you with Him?” What did you say? What happened then?

PETER 1: I said, “I think that was my evil twin. Yea, that’s the ticket.”
PETER 2: Again I denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow. I was so upset that I started to weep.
PETER 3: I said, “Yea that was me. Did you see what I did with Jesus’ taco?”

Question 9
When you first heard that Jesus was dead, how did you feel? In Mark 16:6-7 it says that when Jesus rose, the angel told the women to tell you specifically that He would meet you in Galilee. How did you feel then? What did you see in the empty tomb? How did it make you feel?

PETER 1: I was really bummed when I heard that Jesus was dead. The empty tomb was kind of creepy, but I was really happy to hear that He was alive again.
PETER 2: I was very upset and scared when I heard Jesus was dead. I wasn’t sure what to think when I heard when He was alive. I ran to the tomb and could see for myself that it was empty. I got so excited that I ran back to the other disciples to tell them what I saw.
PETER 3: I was so upset that I couldn’t even eat. When I found out He was okay, I went to IHOP for a Rutti-Tutti Fresh N' Fruity breakfast.

Question 10
We understand from reading John 21:1-19 that Jesus met you by the lake in Galilee. After your breakfast with Him, He asked you some specific questions. What did Jesus ask? What did you answer? What do you think Jesus meant for you to do? What would you say about Jesus’ forgiveness?

PETER 1: He asked if I had cleaned my room like I said I would. I changed the subject. I hope he forgives me that my room is still a mess.
PETER 2: He asked me three times if I loved Him. I told Him of course I do. It kind of hurt my feelings that He kept asking. Then I realized that I denied Him three times, so He was asking me three times. It felt good to know that Jesus was giving me a second chance.
PETER 3: He asked if I was going to finish my fish. I said no, because fish for breakfast is gross. I told Him to help Himself.

After God sent the Holy Spirit, we read in Acts 2:37-42 that there was quite a change in you! Tell us what happened that day.

PETER 1: I cleaned my room, and I have kept it clean ever since.
PETER 2: I preached a sermon that I could not have done on my own, and about three thousand people were saved that day.
PETER 3: I went to the pizza buffet at Pizza Hut and ate more than I ever had before. They could hardly make the pizzas fast enough.

HOST: Now it is time to vote on whom you think is the real Simon Peter.

(Have the PANELISTS vote on which is the real Simon Peter.)
Will the real Simon Peter please stand up.
(All will pretend to stand up, but PETER 2 will finally stand up.)