What’s your fruit of happiness?

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Jesus story book – chapter 3 “the terrible lie”

Activities

1. Toilet roll “sin” challenge
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We split the room in 2 using drumsticks! Jacob went on one side and Esther on the other. I then scrunched up bits of toilet roll and said each one represents a sin. Every time we thought of a sin I gave them one of the balls. I then gave them the challenge to get rid of their sin (scrunched up loo roll balls) by throwing them to the other side. Even with mums help Esther and Jacob still ended up with balls on their side. I then chatted to them about it not being possible to get rid of our own sin. However, there was a way of getting rid of it. I gathered all the balls up an said when Jesus died and rose again for us He beat the power of sin. We then went to the toilet and flushed all the balls away, much to their delight. I explained that even when we follow Jesus we still sin but Gods Holy Spirit lives in us helping us to become more like Jesus. The other thing I added was the promise in the Bible that when we say sorry for our sins, God forgives us but also forgets them as if they’ve been flushed away!

(I must add a plumbing warning to this activity. One of my friends tried it and at the crucial bit of flushing the ‘sins’ away, the toilet got a bit blocked. Thankfully a bit of prodding helped. Maybe for the purpose of this exercise you could limit the number of ‘sins’)

2. Silly snack idea (from Pinterest)

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3. Impossible jump

This was by far my most favorite activity. We made a line with a piece of string at the far end of the carpet and set the challenge to jump over it (feet had to start at the lower end of carpet). J quickly pointed out it was impossible. I said that it was a bit like us trying to make our own way to God by leading a good life. No matter how hard we try we can never do it. I then said because of Jesus, God was able to step over the line as our sins no longer separated us from Him if we choose to follow Him. I then stepped over the piece of string and for the next 5 min the kids took it in turns to take a run and jump into my arms from the other room. After a while I collapsed on a heap on the couch. I was able to say to them that although we all get tired and worn out and need to sleep, God never does  He never slumbers or sleeps (Psalm 121:4) And always welcomes us into His loving arms.

4. Apple experiment

I asked J to take a bite out of an apple and asked how it tasted, good was the response. I suggested we leave the apple for a week and see what happens to it. As you see below it went very brown and unappealing. I compared this to sin saying at first sin can be attractive and we can enjoy it but after a while it begins to destroy us And makes us feel dirty and bad inside. However, I emphasised that this was the end and we ceremoniously dropped it in the bin. I explained that when we chose to be a follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit lives inside us and makes our hearts clean again. Although as Christians we will still sin, Gods Holy Spirit helps us become more like Jesus.

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5. Dominoes

We tried to set up dominoes in different shapes and letters and then knock them down. While I was putting each domino up I compared them to sins. Sometimes we can get away with sins by not getting caught or convince ourselves it wasn’t that serious. However, one sin often leads to another and eventually sin destroys our lives, bringing hurt, pain etc.

We then had a look at some clips on youtube of massive domino tracks. Great fun. Couldn’t help myself but point out how sin doesn’t just effect us but hurts others too.

6. Let’s dance

It’s a bit cold here in Glasgow at the moment so nothing beats a dance around the room to some kids worship song or any music really. I recommend Rizers, Go fish and Colin Buchanan (warning re Colin Buchanan – you do start singing the songs in an Ozzy accent!)
I suggested to J that he do some silly actions and I would copy him. Exhausting work but definitely warmed us up! I pointed out to J at the end that sometimes we can copy others in our attitudes and behaviour and that the Bible says the best way to live is by following Jesus.

(NOTE I adapted some of these ideas from the following sources
http://www.churchleaders.com/children/childrens-ministry-how-tos/160571-6-ideas-for-teaching-kids-about-sin.html?p=2

Thoughts

At a ladies bible study recently we are looking at Hosea and while the children are not quite ready for the book itself, it served as a reminder to me of how faithful our God is. Peoples’ ultimate sin of rejecting God started in the garden of Eden when Adam and Eve believed the lie and thought they could find happiness apart from Him. Throughout the whole of the Bible and history people have sought personal happiness and we like the Israelites often seek fulfilment through created things rather than our creator. Despite our rebellion and Gods hate for sin He remains faithful. In the garden of Eden, in Hosea and throughout Gods word He promises that he will make a way for us to be His again.

Last week when the boys returned to school and E was at granny’s I sat for most of the day playing lego!! My main purpose was to find in the vast metropolis of lego pieces one complete set for J who is 6 and blessed with lots of hand me down lego. Several times I was tempted to give up and felt guilty about wasting my time. While sitting there it occurred to me that what I was doing was a very small parallel to what God does for us on a daily basis as His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23-24).

Firstly, just as in Creation God brings order out of chaos. In Genesis one God creates everything perfectly and describes it as “good”. Satan then comes with his lies and brings chaos, disaster and separation from God our main source of true happiness. Jesus says in John 10:8-10 says “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”.

The second parallel I thought of while rummaging through lego was the verse Matthew 7:11 “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”. My efforts to find missing pieces of lego of course pale into insignificance compared to our Heavenly Father who never sleeps or slumbers, does not give up and continually works things out for the good of those who trust in Him (Psalm121:4).

Lastly I remembered life is not about what God wants to give me or any of His children. Both of these promises above are not dependent on our circumstances and not promises for material prosperity or even health. They are promises that God Himself will walk with us through life, whatever it brings. In Him alone will we find true joy. Yes, I was making up a lego set for J who was delighted when he received the gift. Ultimately though I wanted him to love me more than the lego.

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Starstruck!

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The Jesus story Bible, chapter 2 “the beginning, a perfect home”.

Activities to reinforce the creation and the glory of God;
1. We made light/dark shortbread and talked about how powerful God is. While we need to find and use ingredients to make thing like shortbread, God can make something out of nothing. He spoke words and brought life into being.

2. We played “around the world game” and pointed out God created the world and whole universe. Although he is very powerful a d wonderful, He loves us and is interested in every part of our lives. He wants us to share our lives with Him. That’s what we were created for, to have a loving relationship with Him. Just like Adam and Eve had in the beginning.

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3. Scavenger hunt for things God made. (I got some ideas from Pinterest)

Songs
1. He’s got the whole world in His hand. http://youtu.be/zeNYGBGkhW8
2. If I were a butterfly. (I always forget which animals go in which order so I have copied the words below) http://www.butterflysong.com/images/images_BFS/Butterfly.Song.Chords.Lyrics.If.I.Were.a.Butterfly.pdf
3. All heaven declares the glory of the risen Lord http://youtu.be/IVjL9UXcJ4s

Thoughts
Recently one of my friends and her husband met an American christian blogger who we both follow on twitter. When I got over the excitement of it all I realised I was a bit starstruck knowing that my friends had met with him. I remembered something John Piper had said in a sermon, that he would have days where he would hang around his church and meet people. I had imagined meeting him and being overwhelmed by his “celebrity status”. My focus then shifted to Jesus and the knowledge of who He is. That he is the Son of the one true living God, the promised one, hope for all people, my saviour. He is the One we are all learning and talking about when we read blogs, sermons, worship. So, why do I not get Starstruck about Him more often? I have endless opportunities to meet with and communicate with my Saviour and friend.
Unlike any blogger, author, preacher or worship leader, Jesus knows me, warts and all, loves me. He chose to die on a cross, be separated from His Father in heaven- For Me! He is the author and perfect or of my faith (Hebrews 12) Psalm 19:1 says”The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” My prayer is the same as the psalmist in v 14; “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” God doesn’t need me to love and worship Him. He IS love and He wants to pour out that love on me. Just because He can.

The story and the song

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The Jesus Story Bible chapter 1- Story and the Song

Activities

1. Making Music
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We made a kazoo and used it to sing along to “Make a joyful noise to the Lord” by the Rizers (see below for link) and chatted about how Gods love for us can make us want to sing for joy.

Instructions for kazoo:
Put some greaseproof paper around the top of kichen roll holder and secure with an elastic band. Make a hole near the top of the kitchen roll. Decorate and hum or sing into it for a great noise.

2. Other instrument ideas are:
Guitar – Elastic bands around an old tissue box
Rice shaker – put rice inside a used kitchen roll. Cover both sides with greaseproof paper and secure with Sellotape and/or elastic bands. Decorate if you like.

3. Breaking the rules, basketball.
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As the story suggests I emphasised to the kids that the Bible is not a book of rules. We did however have a chat about how there are rules in the Bible and they help us to live the way God wants us to live and that He knows what’s best for us because He made us.

My sons love basketball and I took the opprtunity while they were playing one day to suggest that they play without rules for a while. Up until then there had been a few arguments about rules and cheating. They played for about 2 minutes without rules and then got fed up. We chatted afterwards about the need first and foremost to love and enjoy the game and that we need rules to make the most of the game. Similarly in life we need to love God first “with all our hearts, soul and mind” (Deuteronomy 6:5) and the rules set out in the Bible help us to live for Him rather than ourselves.

Songs

I lift my eyes up Brian Doerksen

Make a joyful noise
Song Tracks: http://www.worshiphousekids.com/31926/

Thoughts

One of my favourite psalms and worship song is “I lift my eyes up” (Psalm 121) by Brian Doerksen. In times of discouragement and difficulty I have found it helpful to look up at the beauty and magnificence of the sky, knowing that God, my God placed it there for His glory and that whatever is going on down here on earth He is in control. The first chapter of the Jesus story Bible starts with a paraphrase of Psalm 19 “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”.

I recently read of a woman who survived Aushwitz. In her journal she had recorded that although her body was fevered and her surroundings atrocious she was able to catch a glimpse of the sky and found hope in knowing God was her strength despite her circumstances. I am reminded of one of John Pipers famous quotes “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”.

An image that springs to mind as I write this is of one of my friends at a toddler group who has a 2 month old baby. As she was talking to me earlier this week I couldn’t help but be distracted by her baby boy gazing up at her with the biggest smile, fixing his eyes on her with complete adoration, dependance and trust. This is how God wants us to be with Him. Hebrews 12:1,2 Paul tells us to;
“throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

The rest of chapter 1 emphasises that the Bible is not a book of rules or a book of heroes but a story of how God loves His children and comes to rescue them.