Memory Assignment "I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again." John 3:3
Life at Calvary Chapel Markesan has been quite busy! We are excited about being in our new building with so much room for our kids to learn, play, and grow!
As we continued talking about being part of God's family, the kids began to see how they are part of three families! They have their immediate family - parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles .... Then they have their church family. Then they have God's greater family. How cool is that?
Below is our craft for the day. The small envelope represents our immediate household family - parents, siblings, pets. The larger envelope represents our church family. The board the envelopes are glued to represents God's greater family, which includes ALL who believe in Him - here and all over the world!
The popsicle sticks? Well, you can probably guess what they represent ....!
In I John chapter 3, the kids read about how much our heavenly Father loves us when He calls us His children, and that is what we are! He even knows our names!
Isaiah 43:1 says, “… Do not be afraid for I have paid for your sin. I have called you by name, you are Mine.” This means we do not need to be afraid because Jesus paid for our sin. He has called us by name!
The kids craft was a mirror where they glued on a crown they decorated with their name on it and also glued "God has called you by name" below it. Everytime they look in the mirror, they see someone God loves and considers a child of His family – which means they are actually a prince or a princess ... because Jesus is the King of kings!
Today’s scripture was from I John 2:24-28. In this passage, John encourages us four times to remain in fellowship with Jesus and our Heavenly Father. Wow! That means it's really important! He finishes with “… remain in fellowship with Christ so that when He returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from Him in shame.” Want to get blessed and have your heart energized? Ask one of our kiddos sometime what they think it will be like when Christ returns! We learned the chorus if the song "One Day" by Wayne Watson; "One day Jesus will call my name, as days go by I hope I don't stay the same, I want to get so close to Him that it's no big change on that day when Jesus calls my name".
Then we made these!
Moving along through 1 John 2:15-17, the kids were asked if God was okay with a person loving the car they drive, a pet they have, or other special things that are part of their lives. We all agreed that this is okay as long as we don’t love them more than God. How do we know we love them more than God? When we are willing to let go of them when God asks. Sometimes that can be tough!
Things in the world are temporary, they don’t last. If we get what we want now, a few days, weeks, or months later a new thing comes out and we no longer want what we had – we want the new thing.
Is it okay to want things? Yes, as long as we are willing to use it in a way that pleases God. Like sharing what we have so everyone can have fun with it. Only our relationship with God, and others who love Him, will last forever – because Heaven is real, and those who believe will live together forever with Jesus. Loving God and loving others is what pleases God.
John 17:16 and 18 says those who believe in Jesus do not belong to this world any more than Jesus did. Just as our Heavenly Father sent Jesus into the world, He sends us into the world to tell others about Him.
Our craft was to combine colored water and oil in a bottle. The first thing the kids noticed was how they remain separate from one another. They watched as the bottle was shaken and saw how the water and oil appear to become one. Yet when the bottle is given time to stand undisturbed for a little while, something begins to happen! The water and oil become separate again. Even when they were all mixed together, they were never really one. This is a pretty good picture of what Jesus wants us to be like in this world we live in. Before Jesus was crucified, He prayed that His disciples would live in the world without becoming like the world. He wants us to add the gifts He gives us to the world (musical, words of encouragement, prayer)—like the water added some color to the oil. Yet, He does not want us to become like the world – where people watching wouldn’t be able to tell that we love Him. He wants us to remain the person God made us to be. He wants us to know His love and to share that love with others.
We have to live in this world for now, but Jesus has called us to be separate from it. Just as this colored water remains separate from the oil, Jesus wants us to be separate from the world.
Today we read I John 2:7-8. The Old Testament talked a lot about loving each other. The New Testament does too and ALSO has Jesus SHOWING us what it means to LIVE IT - not lightly either, but radically!
Some examples the kids gave of loving each other were serving each other, selflessly giving, and sharing. Showing love to each other should be unifying - like one big family.
When we get closer to Jesus, we’ll find ourselves getting closer to each other as well. In other words, the more we love Jesus, the more we’ll be able to love each other. Random acts of kindness can show others the love we have through Jesus.
We made felt hearts, put holes around the edges, then stitched two felt hearts together with a large loop to go around our necks or hang on a wall. The kids then drew a picture of them showing love to someone or writing a verse about love to put inside the stitched hearts. It was AWESOME!
Our focus was in 1 John 2 and how we can be SURE we know Jesus. We started by looking at our behavior. The kids came up with GREAT examples of what Jesus asks of us and how our obedience reveals our heart toward Him. 1 John 2:5 tells us that those who obey God’s word show how completely they love Him. Verse 6 says those who say Jesus lives in them should live their lives as Jesus did.
Then we read Matt 21:28-31 about the 2 sons who were asked to do something for their father. Which one obeyed? The kids know!
Even in Jesus’ day, people would sometimes go to church and say they love God but the way they behaved said otherwise. It’s one thing to say we love God, but it doesn’t mean anything unless we are doing what God wants us to do the way God wants us to. We live out our love for Him through our actions and obedience to His way of living - which is really the best way ever! Jesus lived out His love for us by going to the cross and being resurrected from the grave.
Luke 11:28 says even more blessed are those who hear the Word of God and put it into practice – who hear it and do it.
God’s Word is a book of love. Not only does it tell us how much God loves us, it provides guidance and direction on the way to live our lives in the best way possible. God knows and cares about what is best for us and keeps us safe!
We made parachutes to represent God’s guidance and direction over us. When we choose to be attached to Him, putting ourselves underneath His guidance and protection (He is the parachute), we find that life’s lessons are not as difficult as they would be if we choose not to be under Him. All the kids agreed - landing is much easier when you're under a parachute!
Moving through our study of 1 John, we looked at 1:9-10 that says "… if we confess our sins to him (we openly admit that we’ve done something wrong), Jesus is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from it."
Jesus makes us clean again. To help understand the concept, three glasses were presented. One had water in it, one had iodine, and the third had bleach. The water represented us. When iodine was poured in the water, it turned the clear water brown. This is us when sin gets in our heart. When the bleached was poured in the cup with water and iodine, it turned the liquid inside back to being clear - like Jesus cleansing our sinful heart with the blood He shed on the cross for us.
1 John 2:1 says … if anyone does sin, we have a friend and helper who pleads our case before the Father. Verse 2 tells us that His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave not only paid for our sins, but the sins of all the world – people in Mexico, people in Russia, people in China, people in Africa … and everywhere people live on earth!
With Jesus, it was a matter of his death or ours because the Bible tells us the punishment for sin is death. Jesus took that punishment for us AND He pleads our case before the Father! Is that love, or what? Sin was paid for at the cross, so today we decorated crosses as a reminder to bring our sin to Jesus since His death and resurrection from the grave made it possible for Him to make our heart clean again.
Today the kids shared what they think a relationship with God looks like. Much of what they shared was behavior that was identifiable to the characteristic of Jesus. Then we shared how we can sometimes make a mistake and act like we don’t have a relationship with God. When the kids were asked what they should do about it when it happens, they knew that asking God for His forgiveness and asking each other for forgiveness was the best way to handle it. Everyone feels better! How we treat others is a reflection of God’s light in our heart. I John 1:7 says when we are living in God’s light, we have good relationships with each other. When we invite Jesus into our heart, He washes out the inside of it. But we have to continue to keep our heart clean with good choices – keep that light on in our heart, and He helps us. When our heart is clean and the light inside is on, we treat each other better. We sung "This Little Light of Mine" and lit up the inside of our yarn-shaped hearts to represent how cool it is when the light of God shines through us.
Today we talked about 1 John 1:5-8 where John points out that God is Light. The kids did a great job describing the difference between light and darkness. The source of our light is Jesus, and His light lives inside of us. To demonstrate, we used glow-in-the-dark paint to decorate mason jars then went into a dark room and activated some light up bouncy balls. Guess what happened in that pitch dark room with 11, glowing bouncy balls? The room glowed (and the light inside bounced!)!!! If just a little light can make us more at ease in a dark place, imagine what a lot of light will do. Jesus is that light when things feel dark! Where there is light, darkness flees.
The kids are now focusing on key principles in 1 John. On our first Sunday in 1 John we looked at John's family, what he did for a living before meeting Jesus, and some of the special moments he witnessed with Jesus. The we made fishing poles with magnetic fish! Once again we were having so much fun, I didn't get any pictures!
We continue to talk about the Holy Spirit and enjoying the conversation! We quickly traveled through the Bible, Old and New Testament, to see how the Holy Spirit worked then to understand more of how He works even now. Recognizing the fruits of the Spirit was covered along with Romans 5:5 and Romans 8:26. There are so many amazing Scriptures about how God's love is shown to us by His special gift of the Holy Spirit, available to all who believe and walk in a relationship with Jesus their Savior. WHAT A GIFT! The key to hearing Him speak inside our heart is to put Him in front of us, not behind us, then be quiet and listen.
Recently we've been talking about the Holy Spirit, Who the Bible first mentions in Genesis. In our memory verse, Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as One Who will come to live in those who believe in Him. We talked about being still and quiet to hear the Holy Spirit lead us. We also talked about how the Holy Spirit adds life and joy, like "rivers of living water" that flows from our heart. The wind is often used as an example of the Holy Spirit, where you can see the impact of the wind but not the wind itself. People can see the impact of Jesus in our hearts and how the Holy Spirit leads us and makes life more lively! Ask the kids about the bottle of bubbles and balloons! They are such a smart bunch! Along with our lesson, the kids are making a craft without any idea what the end result will be. They are simply following instructions with faith that the leader knows what the end result will be. Can you relate?! The center of our craft over the next few weeks is a balloon. Can you tell what it will be?!
Know what the best part of a cement basement floor is? Chalk creativity! This particular Sunday was a free day for the kids.
This month we are focusing on what it means to have a fresh, bubbling spring within us and rivers of living water flowing from our hearts. To illustrate, we counted to three and dropped a Mentos in our own 16 ounce bottle of Diet Coke - all at the same time. Talk about overflowin'!!! Then the kids got crafty and made some wells to represent Jesus being the well of living water that overflows from our hearts - a well that never runs out of love for us. We sure love Him!
Today we enjoyed a guest artist who illustrated the story of David and Goliath. As Jeff drew the picture of David slinging the rock up toward Goliath's noggin', we talked about how:
Most slingers back in the day could hit a target 200 yards away with a stone. That means they could hit a target 2 football fields away. That is a LONG WAY!
Slingers could hit a bird…in flight!
Rocks flung by a really good slinger could whip out of a sling at just over 35 yards per second. It had the stopping power of a .45 caliber handgun!
Goliath was too tall to stand straight up in our church basement. He would have to bend over a lot to fit, or we'd have to cut a hole in the basement ceiling. Then he'd be in the adult church from about his chest up to his head!
King Saul tried to give the David his armor - trying to make David’s outward appearance look bigger and stronger. The king wasn’t trusting God.
David did trust God. He trusted Him to take whatever skill he had, whatever ability he had, and make it effective. And did He ever! In a BIG way!
David’s willing heart to trust God with his ability is what brought Goliath down, not his appearance or his size.
Then we tried being slingers with our own open slings and marshmallows, trying to knock down Goliath cardboard boxes - a stack of cardboard boxes all the way to the ceiling! We were having SO MUCH FUN ... I forgot to take pictures!!!
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were taken from their families and home country to serve the king of Babylon. They faced a lot of pressure to turn away from God, but they remained faithful to Him in everything they faced. They KNEW God was greater, and that He could deliver them from ANYTHING! God gave these four young men an unusual ability to understand EVERYTHING. Whenever the king asked their help on any matter, he found them ten times more capable than anyone else. All four young men always gave God the credit and praise for everything. After Daniel's experience in the lions' den, the king decreed that "everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel. For he is the living God, and he will endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and his rule will never end. He rescues and saves his people; he performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions." We had fun taking turns illustrating the story of Daniel and the lions.