Sunday, February 27, 2011

The End or the Beginning?

Here is a quick one to pull together. You just need a pack of black balloons and a pack of brightly colored ones. Then some string or ribbon to tie two together (one of each) for each child. Bring them to church in a big black trash bag, so they can't guess their suprise!

The End Or The Beginning?

Pop quiz! Who is God's Son? (jesus) Who? (Jesus) What did you say? (JESUS!) Boy, you kids are really learning a lot about Jesus!

Remember last time, Jesus was in Capernaum and he helped all the people? Well, someone in the crown in Capernaum got an idea. He said, "Hey, Jesus, I have a good idea! Why don't you stay here in Capernaum forever and be our preacher at our church?!" Then someone else said, "I like that idea! Stay here Jesus, be our preacher." Then pretty soon everyone was saying what a good idea that was. "Jesus, stay here with us. Jesus, stay and be our preacher."

What did Jesus say? If you think Jesus said yes, raise your hand (three hands sneak up). If you think Jesus said no, raise your hand (three hands go up, one is a duplicate!) Okay, if you're not sure what Jesus said, raise both hands (this is fun, and everyone raises both hands, big laugh)! Well, the Bible tells us that Jesus said, (pause for dramatic effect)... He said, "I have to leave." (they are disappointed!) "BECAUSE God wants me to preach His good news to ALL people, not just here in Capernaum."

So, the people of Capernaum were sad, but they understood. Jesus was sad, too because he would miss the people of Capernaum. They loved Him, and He loved them. But also, Jesus was excited to be starting His first big preaching trip to ALL God's people. He wanted to meet them all. And He wanted to help them all. And He wanted to teach them all about God's good news.

And that's the good news! Jesus is for ALL people!

Did you notice that this story is about ending, but also about beginning? Jesus had to end His visit in Capernaum, and He had to begin preaching in other towns and cities. Did you know everytime we have an ending, we also get a beginning? Endings can be sad, right? But beginning can be fun, exciting, happy, joyful, running, jumping, laughing, clapping, GREAT!

When Kindergarten ends, you get to begin first grade!
When Spring ends, we get to begin to enjoy Summer!
When a Christian dies, it is the end of their life here on earth, and people are sad. But it is the beginning of their forever-life in heaven with Jesus, and that is the best new beginning anybody can ever get!

I have something to help you remember. These two balloons are tied together. What color is this one? (black) What color is the other one? (yellow) Which color is a sad color? (black) Which color is a happy color? (yellow) The black balloon is the ending, it is sad. The yellow balloon is the beginning, and it is happy. They are tied together because whenever we have an ending, we also get a new beginning. Just like Jesus got to begin His first big preaching trip to ALL God's people.

Bow heads, close eyes, fold hands.

Dear God, 
Thank you for sending Jesus to be for ALL people, even us. 
Thank you for endings, even though we get sad.
Thank you for beginnings, and help us to be glad.
In Jesus' name, 

Jesus is the Christ

Leave yourself plenty of time to trim the plastic canvas and to thread the cord. Each one took me ten minutes. I used the 3" pre-cut crosses but trimmed them to be similar to the shape of the pattern which I modified.  Here is the link: 

Also, I didn't use ribbon, but the metalic cord from the craft shop in various colors.

Jesus is the Christ

Well, we started talking about Jesus quite a few Sundays ago. 
Of course at Christmastime, we heard again all about the amazing birth of Jesus. Angels told Mary and Joseph and the shepherds about God's wonderful plan for the birth of His Son, Jesus.

Remember John the Baptist? What a goofy guy! What was goofy about John the Baptist? (they may or may not remember) What did John wear? (camel skins) What did John eat? (locusts and honey) Where did John live? (in the wilderness) Yep, goofy! But he taught people about Jesus. He said the Messiah was finally here. When he baptized Jesus, God spoke to Jesus from Heaven and said, "You are my Son. I am very happy with You."

Remember the devil testing Jesus? He tried to make Jesus doubt that He was really God's son. The devil said to Jesus, "IF you are really the Son of God, turn this stone to bread." But could he fool Jesus? (head shake) No, Jesus believed God.

Remember the people at the synagogue in Nazareth? (they're not sure) Remember the BAD IDEA? (this they remember) While Jesus was preaching to them, they loved His words. But then someone got the BAD IDEA that Jesus was no one special. And the BAD IDEA spread to the others, and soon they were all trying to push Jesus off a cliff! But what did Jesus do? Did He get mad at them? No, did He blast them with His awesome power? No, He miraculously walked right through them!

Jesus IS someone special, isn't He? Who is Jesus? (the Son of God) Right!

So after all that, Jesus left Nazareth and walked to Capernaum. Can you say Capernaum? (let a three year old try, you'll be amazed) The next Sabbath day, he preached to the people of Capernaum in their synagogue. But we'll just call it church, like we say today. 

During church a man with an evil spirit in him said the most amazing thing! The evil spirit in the man said, (use a scary voice) "Jesus, I know who You are. You are God's Holy Son, leave us alone!" Do you think Jesus obeyed the evil spirit? (heads shake) No, Jesus commanded the evil spirit to BE QUIET and come out of the man. And what do you think that evil spirit did? (see if they can guess) It did exactly what Jesus ordered! It did not speak another word, and it came out of that poor man! Everyone at church was AMAZED!

After church, Jesus went to Peter's house, and Peter's mother-in-law was very sick-very, very sick. Peter asked Jesus to help her. What do you think Jesus did? (helped her) Of course He did! He healed her so perfectly that she got up and fixed lunch for them! (wide-eyed amazement)

Well, you know how news gets around, right? (nods) Pretty soon everybody in Capernaum heard about Jesus whooping the evil spirit and healing Peter's mother-in-law. 

At sundown, when they were finally allowed to, everyone came to Jesus. They brought all their loved ones who had evil spirits, or who were sick. And what do you think Jesus did? (helped them) 

How many did Jesus help? (they have no idea, but may guess. if they guess, say, are you sure?) Here's a clue: Jesus spent the whole night, from sundown to dawn, helping them. What do you think? Did he help ten of them? (no, more) How about 100? (yes, probably) Well, Luke tells us Jesus helped them ALL! Everyone in town! 

Why? What do we already know about Jesus? (he is good, he loves us, he has power) You kids are really learning a lot about Jesus! He is good. He loves all of us. He has amazing power. 

Here is a cross for each of you to remember Jesus. Why does a cross remind us of Jesus? (Jesus died on a cross) That's right. Who is the Son of God? (jesus) Who? (Jesus) Can't hear you! (JESUS!)

Bow heads, close eyes, fold hands.

Dear God our Father,
You are the Father of Jesus too. 
Some people don't believe it, like the people in Nazareth. 
Some people do believe, like the people in Capernaum. 
Please help us to always believe in Jesus, Your Son.
In His name we pray, 

A Bad Idea

A heart almost as beautiful as the heart of Jesus: this is a good little craft, if you like origami. Use the 6" by 6" squares in a cool and brightly colored design. Follow this link for instructions:

Continuing in the fourth chapter of Luke, Jesus has some trouble with the hometown crowd. They revile Him, accuse Him, and finally, caught up in their mass, ignorant frenzy, they are driven to attempt His murder. These are people He grew up with: the families of His boyhood playmates, the friends and customers of Joseph and Mary.  

Jesus, the best preacher ever, had had them in the palm of His hand. They were amazed at the beauty and authority of His words. Then came the bad idea. That is how every sin begins, with one bad idea. And ideas, good or bad, tend to sweep through crowds.

A Bad Idea

When Jesus got done whooping the devil in the wilderness, he went to his hometown. It was called Nazareth. That's where Jesus grew up, in Nazareth. He went to church like He ALWAYS did. They called it synagogue back then, but let's just call it church like we say today, okay? Jesus went to church to preach. 

The people of Nazareth were so excited to have Jesus back home. Jesus was the best preacher ever. He preached from the book of Isaiah in the Bible. It was this part:

"The Spirit of the Lord is in me. This is because God chose me to tell the Good News to the poor." (Luke 4:18 ICB see link at left) 

Then Jesus said, "This is happening right here and now!" What did Jesus mean, "This is happening right here and now?" What was happening right here and now? (they have no idea) The people of Nazareth understood what Jesus meant. When He said, "God chose me" Jesus meant HE was the Messiah Isaiah was writing about!  

But then something happened. Someone in the church got an idea. It was a BAD idea! The person said, "Wait a minute! This is only Jesus. We knew him when he was a small boy. He grew up in our town. Jesus is NOBODY SPECIAL!" (they are shocked) Then a few more people started saying the same thing, "Jesus is nobody special!" Pretty soon all the people in the church got the same bad idea. They were so mad at Jesus for saying He was God's Messiah.

The people were so mad, they started pushing Jesus right out the door of the church. Then they were pushing Him all the way out of town, right to the edge of a cliff! They wanted to push Jesus off the cliff and kill Him! What do you think Jesus did then? (they don't know) Do you think He blasted them with His awesome power? (they don't know) Maybe He sent plagues to Nazareth just like God sent plagues to Egypt long ago. Remember? God sent flies, frogs, blood, death, it was just awful. Do you think Jesus did that? No, He did not do any of those things. Jesus did not even get mad at them. He just walked right through them, and there was nothing they could do about it. Jesus walked through them and went on His way.

(Choose the oldest boy) OK Garrett, you pretend to be Jesus. Stand on the edge of the step with your back to the people. Everybody else come around and try to push Garrett off the step when I say so. Garrett, try your best to walk through them, okay? Ready, set, push! (Garrett tries to stay up, but goes down in the end with a great stage fall!) If Garrett couldn't get through a small group of kids, HOW did Jesus get through a big crowd of angry grown-ups? Jesus really has awesome power, doesn't He!

And He has awesome love. Jesus grew up in Nazareth, and He knew those people, and He loved those people, and He loves all of you, too. Jesus would never hurt anyone. 

I have a reminder for you. This heart will remind you of Jesus and His awesome love. Who loves you more than anybody? (jesus) Who? (Jesus) I can't hear you! (JESUS!) Yes, He sure does.

Bow heads, close eyes, fold hands.

Dear God,
The love of Jesus is wonderful.
He loves us even when we get a bad idea, even when we do something naughty.
He doesn't get mad.
Please make our bad ideas go away.
Please give us good ideas.
Please help us be good for Jesus.
In His name we pray,