Footsteps of Service Discussion Questions

Friday:Footsteps of Service
Main Passage: Philippians 4:10-19, 2nd Kings 4:8-13
Other Passages: Acts 9:36-39, 1st Corinthians 12-14, Romans 12:4-13
Memory Verse: Philippians 2:4
  1. What was the name of the man who helped Paul by taking him the money collected by the churches?
  2. How are prisons today different from prisons in Bible times?
  3. Can you think of any other examples in the Bible of people who served God by serving people?
  4. Why did the church in Philippi collect money for Paul? Why is their motive important?
  5. Does following the Shunnemite's footsteps mean that each one of you will have to have missionaries or pastors stay in your home? Why or why not?
  6. How do we figure out what we can do in the church to serve God by serving others?
If you need hints to answer some of the questions, look up the listed scripture passages.

Footsteps of Service, Teen Version

Friday:Footsteps of Service
Main Passages: Philippians 4:10-19, 2nd Kings 4:8-13
Other Passages: Acts 9:36-39, 1st Corinthians 12-14, Romans 12:4-13
Objective: We should serve God by serving others.
Visuals Available (updated 2016)
Memory Verse: Philippians 2:4, Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others.
Introduction: Footsteps
This week we're learning about people in the Bible, whose footsteps we should follow. Following their footsteps means doing the same kinds of things that they did, or being the kind of people that they were. Tonight we're going to talk about two examples – one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament – of people who offered God their time and money. These people served God by the way that they served other people. The first example is a man named Epaphroditus, who helped the apostle Paul.
Story: Epaphroditus
Paul spent many years in prison. He had been put in prison for telling people about Jesus. Back then, the government didn't guarantee people the freedom to talk about their religion, so if you were talking about Jesus and there were some people in town who didn't like it, sometimes they could get you arrested and thrown into prison. This happened to Paul a lot.
Prisons were different in Paul's day, too. While he was in prison, the prison guards were not going to bring him food. If his friends and family didn't bring it to him, he would starve, and would no longer be able to help the churches. So it was important for others who believed in Jesus to take care of Paul. Someone needed to bring him food and other things that he needed. Someone did. Someone named Epaphroditus left his home, his job, and his family, and took the gifts that the church collected to help Paul. He took it all the way to Rome, where Paul was, and brought it to him. Because Epaphroditus did that, Paul was able to write letters to churches, letters that we now have in our Bible: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon. Epaphroditus served God by taking care of Paul.
Application: Giving Time
[On the blackboard/whiteboard/overhead/whatever, write Giving Your Time at the top, and underline it. Ask the class for ways that we today can spend our time to serve other people and thus to serve God. e.g., we can rake leaves for the pastor, we can pray for missionaries, we can serve food at a funeral dinner, we can babysit kids for a sick woman at church, etc. List a whole bunch of possibilities – things that don't cost money, but are just things we can do that are a service.]
Story: The Shunemmite
In the Old Testament, there was a prophet named Elisha. Sometimes Elisha had to go to Shunem, and he had no place to stay. He would have been sleeping outside. But there was a woman who lived there, whose husband was old and rich. She noticed that Elisha was a man of God. So one day, when Elisha came to Shunem, the woman asked him to stay for a meal and eat with her family. She had plenty, so it was no big deal. So then every time Elisha passed through Shunem, he stayed for a meal at her house.
Then the woman noticed that he was coming to town a lot, and had no place to stay. There were no hotels. So she said to her husband, I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. Let's make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us. So they did. She wanted to serve God by taking care of the prophet Elisha.
Elisha noticed her kindness, and wanted to repay her, by giving her a blessing. But he didn't know what she wanted. So he asked her, You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? But the woman didn't want to be repaid for her service. She said, I have a home among my own people. In other words, I'm already taken care of. When you're serving God, you don't need to be repaid. You're not doing it to gain something. You're doing it for God. (Now, Elisha did go on to do something very special for the woman later. But that's another story.)
Application: Giving Stuff
[On the blackboard/whatever, write Giving Stuff, and underline it. Ask the class for ways that we today can give stuff to other people and thus serve God. e.g., we can send money to missionaries, bring food to people who are sick, letting traveling missionaries stay in your home, helping people who have lost their jobs, contributing money for poor kids to go to church camp, etc.]
Invitation: Service
Invite any children who want to serve God in the church to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.

Hannah's Prayer Discussion Questions

Thursday:Hannah's Prayer
Main Passage: 1st Samuel 1
Other Passages: Matthew 6:24-34, James 5:13-20, Luke 18:1-14, Philippians 4:6-7, Deuteronomy 16:16-17
Memory Verse: James 5:16
  1. What was the name of Hannah's husband?
  2. What was Hannah's problem?
  3. Why did Elkanah and his family go year after year to Shiloh to worship the Lord? Shouldn't we worship the Lord day by day all year long?
  4. What kinds of things should we pray about?
    • Answer from James 5.
    • Answer from Luke 18.
    • Answer from Philippians 4.
  5. In the last two or three weeks, has there been something you should have prayed about, that you didn't think to pray about at the time?
  6. Should we pray alone, or in groups? Why?
If you need hints to answer some of the questions, look up the listed scripture passages.

Hannah's Prayer, Teen Version

Thursday:Hannah's Prayer
Main Passage: 1st Samuel 1
Other Passages: Matthew 6:24-34, James 5:13-20, Luke 18:1-8, Philippians 4:6-7
Objective: When we have problems, we should pray to God.
Visuals Available (updated 2016)
Memory Verse: from James 5:6, The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
Introduction: Footsteps
This week we're learning about people in the Bible, whose footsteps we should follow. Following their footsteps means doing the same kinds of things that they did, or being the kind of people that they were.
Story: Hannah
In the Old Testament, there's a story about a woman named Hannah, who was married to a man named Elkanah. Even though they had been married for a while, Hannah had no children. She wanted to have children, but she was barren. Being barren wasn't her fault; sometimes a woman, medically, just can't have children. It happens. Even today with more advanced medical care, some women can't get pregnant. And it was happening to Hannah. Other women were having children, but Hannah was barren. Hannah's husband loved her very much. He said, Am I not better to you than ten sons? But she still wanted children.
Peninnah had children, and she taunted Hannah and made fun of her because she didn't have any. Peninnah irritated Hannah deliberately. This bothered Hannah, not just because she didn't like being picked on, but also because it reminded her of a sad thing – that she couldn't have any children. Hannah wanted children, and Peninnah knew it. Picking on her for it wasn't very nice, but Peninnah kept doing it anyway. Every time Hannah went up to the temple to worship God, Peninnah was there, picking on her, making fun of her for not having any children. This went on for years.
Hannah could have been angry at Peninnah. But what Hannah really wanted was to have a child. She knew that attacking Peninnah wouldn't solve her problem. Only God could give her a child.
So one year, when they made their trip all the way to Shiloh to visit the temple, when Hannah went up to the temple to worship the Lord that year, she prayed to God for a child. She took her request to him. Hannah didn't just pray a simple, short, mindless prayer: Dear God, please give me a child, amen. She cried to the Lord, and she wept, and she prayed and prayed for God to see her misery and give her a son. And she promised that if she could only have a son, she would give him back to God: she would send him to work in the temple and serve the Lord.
As she was praying, one of the priests, a man named Eli, noticed that she was crying and her mouth was moving. He didn't know about her situation, so he didn't realize she was praying for a child. In fact, when he saw her lips moving and no sound coming out, Eli assumed she was drunk! Then he spoke to her. He yelled at her for being drunk and told her to get rid of her wine.
Hannah told Eli the priest that she wasn't drunk, just deeply troubled and sad, and that she had been praying earnestly to God. Then Eli told her to go in peace. May the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him, he said.
And God did. Later that year, Hannah had a son. She named him Samuel, and when he was old enough, she took him to the temple to serve the Lord, just like she had promised. When he grew up, Samuel became a prophet and a leader, one of the most famous men in the whole history of Israel. The books of 1st and 2nd Samuel, in the Bible, are named for him. And he was born because Hannah prayed to God. Hannah believed God could help her, and he did.
Application: Prayer
When there's something that you need, or that you want, do you pray, or do you just wish for it and forget to tell God? And if you do pray, do you really trust that God can answer your prayer? When we go to God, and we ask him for what we need, he listens. The Bible says that God loves us. He made the flowers, and he made them beautiful. He takes care of the birds. But he loves us more than the birds or the flowers. So when we ask him for something that we need, he's even more likely to give it to us.
Invitation: Prayer
Invite any children who want to learn to pray to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.

Look and Live Discussion Questions

Wednesday:Look and Live
Main Passage: Numbers 21:4-9
Other Passages: John 3:1-18, Hebrews 4
Memory Verse: John 3:14-15
  1. How did God save the Israelites when they were bitten by snakes?
  2. Why were there venomous snakes among them in the first place?
  3. How did Jesus explain salvation to Nicodemus? What does it mean to be born again?
  4. Why did Jesus expect Nicodemus to understand what he was saying?
  5. Why did Nicodemus have difficulty understanding what Jesus was talking about?
  6. The usual answer to the question, Why did Jesus die on the cross? is that the penalty for our sins had to be paid. This is true, but Jesus gives Nicodemus another reason. What is it?
  7. In Hebrews 4, what is the relationship between belief and obedience?
If you need hints to answer some of the questions, look up the listed scripture passages.

Look and Live, Teen Version

Wednesday:Look and Live
Main Passage: Numbers 21:4-9
Other Passages: John 3:1-18
Objective: We should look to Jesus, trusting God for our salvation.
Visuals Available (updated 2016)
Memory Verse: John 3:14-15, Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
Introduction: Footsteps
This week we're learning about people in the Bible, whose footsteps we should follow. Following their footsteps means doing the same kinds of things that they did, or being the kind of people that they were. Today's lesson is about some people who had to learn to trust God, just like people today also need to learn to trust God. We aren't born trusting God. We need to follow in their footsteps and make the right choice to trust God, just like they did.
Story: The Bronze Snake
When the Israelites were wandering in the desert, they started to complain and grumble. They blamed God and they blamed their leader Moses for their unhappiness. Because they spoke against God and didn't trust him, God punished them by sending poisonous snakes to bite them!
So the people ran to Moses and begged for help. They said they were sorry, that they were wrong to rebel against God, and they asked Moses to pray to God, and remove the snakes. Moses did pray to God, but God didn't take the snakes away.
Instead, he told Moses how to keep the people from dying from the poison when they were bitten. He told him to make a bronze snake, and put it up high on a pole, where anyone could see it. God said that if someone was bitten by one of the snakes, they should look at the bronze snake on the pole, and then they wouldn't die. And because God said it, it worked: when people who were bitten by the snakes looked at the bronze snake, they didn't die. But people who didn't look at the snake on the pole died from the snakebites. It was their choice. They had to believe God and trust in his ability to save them from the snake venom.
Looking at the snake on the pole didn't work because bronze snakes are magic. If you get bitten by a poisonous snake today, you wouldn't look for a bronze snake. You'd look for a hospital. So why did looking at the snake on the pole work for the Israelites?
The snakes weren't their real problem. Their real problem was that they needed to trust God. That's why God sent them the snakes in the first place: because they needed to trust God. Looking to the snake, like God said to do, was something they could do to obey and to show that they were trusting in God to save them. Bronze snakes don't save people from snakebite venom. But God can.
Application: Salvation
In the New Testament, a pharisee named Nicodemus came to talk with Jesus. Nicodemus knew that Jesus was from God. Jesus told Nicodemus that he needed to be born again, but Nicodemus didn't understand what it meant.
So Jesus explained it with a simile: Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. Jesus was saying that in order to be saved from our sins, we have to trust in him, just as the Israelites in the desert who needed to be saved from snake poison had to trust in God's ability to save them, by looking at the bronze serpent. Jesus was going to be lifted up on the cross, and when we look to him in faith, believing that God can save us through him, we can be saved from our sins.
Invitation: Salvation
Invite anyone who wants to be saved to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.

Do What It Says Discussion Questions

Tuesday:Do What It Says
Main Passage: Nehemiah 7-8
Other Passages: Leviticus 23:33-43, Numbers 29:12-39, Deuteronomy 16:13-17, 2nd Chronicles 36:14-21, Hebrews 3:7-4:2, Exodus 23:10-11, Jeremiah 25:1-14
Memory Verse: James 1:22
  1. Why were the people weeping?
  2. Why did Nehemiah tell them not to grieve?
  3. What was the point of the booths? Why did God want them to observe this holiday?
  4. Why had the people been in exile in the first place? Why were they back now?
  5. How long had it been since the Israelites had celebrated the holiday like this? (See 8:17.) Why had they let it go for so long?
  6. Why did the Levites have to explain the meaning of the text to the people? It was written in Hebrew. What language had the people been speaking? Why?
If you need hints to answer some of the questions, look up the listed scripture passages.

Do What It Says, Teen Version

Tuesday:Do What It Says
Main Passage: Nehemiah 7-8
Other Passages: Leviticus 23:33-43, Numbers 29:12-39, Deuteronomy 16:13-17, 2nd Chronicles 36:21, Hebrews 3:7-4:2
Objective: We should study God's word and obey it.
Visuals Available (updated 2016)
Memory Verse: James 1:22, Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
Introduction: Background
This week we're learning about people in the Bible, whose footsteps we should follow. Following their footsteps means emulating the kinds of things that they did, or the kind of people that they were.
Two books of the Bible, Ezra and Nehemiah, are named after two men in our story today. Nehemiah was the governor of Judea, and Ezra was a priest.
Nehemiah was in charge of rebuilding the city of Jerusalem. It had been seventy years since the Israelites had last lived in the city, because of the exile, and now that they were back, the city was in bad shape. Nehemiah was concerned about the city – buildings in poor condition, the city's defensive wall crumbled to pieces, and so on – but Nehemiah was also concerned that the people had not been able to study God's word or worship God properly while they were away in Babylon.
Story: Reading from the Book of the Law
Back then the people didn't all have their own Bibles, and many of them couldn't read anyway. So they planned for a day when they could all gather together and hear Ezra the priest read from God's word. They knew that there would be a big crowd, so they built a special platform for Ezra to stand on so he'd be high enough for everyone to see and hear him.
When the day came, everyone gathered together, and Ezra got up on the platform and read aloud from the book all morning long. For about six hours, the people stood quietly and listened carefully, everyone who was old enough to understand. Ezra praised God and read to the people from God's word.
As the people listened to the word that Ezra was reading, they started to cry, because there were things written in God's word that they had not been obeying, things they didn't even know about. For seventy years they had not heard from God's word like this. Many of the people weren't even that old, so they'd never heard these things.
Ezra and Nehemiah told the people to stop crying, because this was a good day. They had heard God's word, and now they knew what it said. It was a good day. So for the rest of the day they celebrated. They ate, and they shared, and they celebrated because they had learned from God.
One of the things that they learned about that they had not been remembering to do was the Festival of Booths (Sukkot), which God had told the Israelites to do every year. In the seventh month they were supposed to gather sticks from the countryside and make temporary shelters, and live in them for a week instead of their regular houses, to remind them of the forty years that their great-great-great-... grandparents lived in tents wandering in the desert, because of their unbelief, when God brought them out of Egypt and into their own land. The Israelites were supposed to celebrate this holiday every year, but for the last seventy years they hadn't been doing it.
So the next day, they went out and started gathering branches and making the shelters. They heard, and then they obeyed.
Application: Obeying God's Word
The Israelites understood that it wasn't enough to just read the Bible and then go about their lives just like they had been. They needed to do what it said. That's still true today: when we study the Bible, we should be looking for things we can apply to our lives. We should do what God's word tells us. We should follow in the footsteps of Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Israelites who listened to God's word and wanted to obey it.
In today's culture many people, if they even hear God's word, think that they can choose to change or ignore it. They say things like, I know what the Bible says, but what I think is... This is wrong. God didn't give us the Bible so we can ignore it, or pay lip service to its teachings. He gave it to us so that we could follow it. He gave us examples of people doing the right things, so that we could follow them, and he also gave us examples of people doing the wrong things, so that we can turn and run the other way.
Invitation: Obedience
Invite anyone who wants to learn to obey God's word to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.

Two Obedient Men Discussion Questions

Monday:Two Obedient Men
Main Passage: Numbers 13-14
Other Passages:
Memory Verse: 1st John 2:5
  1. Why were twelve men chosen to explore the land, not five or ten or twenty?
  2. What did they bring back from the trip? Why?
  3. Why did the people, who had seen what they brought back (13:26), believe the bad report that the ten men gave about the land (13:32)? Shouldn't the fruit that was brought back have convinced them that the land was good? Why didn't it?
  4. Why did Caleb and Joshua think the Israelites could take the land?
  5. Why was Moses concerned about what the Egyptians and the Canaanites would think? Why did God agree?
  6. What happened to the ten men who gave the bad report? What did the people do when they saw this? Why didn't God allow it then?
If you need hints to answer some of the questions, look up the listed scripture passages.

Two Obedient Men, Teen Version

Monday:Two Obedient Men
Main Passage: Numbers 13-14
Other Passages:
Objective: We should trust and obey God.
Visuals Available (updated 2016)
Memory Verse: 1st John 2:5, But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him.
Introduction: Footsteps
This week we're going to be learning about some people in the Bible, whose footsteps we should follow. What does it mean to follow in somebody's footsteps? [Accept some answers.] It means we emulate them: we do the same kinds of things that they did, or be the kind of person that they were. What kind of person would we want to emulate? A rock star? A famous singer? A successful business executive? How about a godly person?
Today, we're going to talk about following in the footsteps of two men named Caleb and Joshua. God honored them for what they did, because they obeyed God. So we know these are good footsteps to follow.
Story: Caleb & Joshua
The Lord told Moses to pick out twelve men from Israel, one from each tribe, and send them to investigate the land that God was going to give them. Two of them men Moses chose were Joshua and Caleb. He also sent ten other men. They explored the land for forty days: they looked around to see how strong the people were who lived there, what kind of cities they had, what fortifications, ... and they took samples of the fruit that grew there.
When they came back to the camp to report to Moses, they told him that the land was very good. They showed him one cluster of grapes that was so big, two men had to carry it. But ten of the men were afraid to go take the land, because they were afraid of the people who lived there, and the strong walls around the cities. They didn't trust God to help them take the land. Now, Joshua and Caleb knew that God had said he was going to give them the land, so Caleb said, We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.
The Point: Obey God
You see, Caleb believed God, and wanted to obey what God had told them to do. Caleb said that they should go take the land, because he trusted God, and knew that doing what God said to do was the best thing.
Story: What Happened Next?
Caleb and Joshua wanted to obey God, but the other ten men were afraid, so they started spreading rumors, exaggerating how big and bad the people were. They said that they felt like grasshoppers next to them, even though really they were only a little smaller. Also, they lied about the land, and said that it wasn't very good land. (Apparently a cluster of grapes so big two men had to carry it was not going to help feed the people.)
The Israelites decided to go on the recommendation of the ten men who were afraid. God punished the people for their disobedience. Because they were unwilling to obey, they had to wander around in the desert for an extra forty years. Of the twelve men who had explored the land, only Caleb and Joshua, the ones who had wanted to obey, lived through the forty years and got to go into the land. God rewarded them for their obedience.
Application: Group Disobedience
Have you ever been in a group of people who were all disobeying? Imagine you and your buddies are hanging out at the mall, and they all decide to start vandalizing the mall fountain. You know you shouldn't, but you know, they're all doing it. Together. Maybe you could just stand there and not really participate, but is that the right thing to do? [Discuss.]
It's hard to obey when all the people around you are going the other direction. But Caleb and Joshua obeyed. When their friends said, we can't do it, we can't go into that land, it's too scary, Caleb and Joshua spoke up. They tried to remind the people of what God had said. They didn't get the people to obey, but they tried, and God honored Caleb and Joshua for their obedience. So even if you can't get all your friends to do the right thing, it's still important for you to obey, and to stand for what is right, and to trust God to take care of you.
Invitation: Obedience
Invite anyone who wants to follow in the footsteps of Caleb and Joshua to stay after and discuss it further.

Hannah's Prayer

Thursday:Hannah's Prayer
Story Passage: 1st Samuel 1
Other Passages: Matthew 6:24-34, James 5:13-20, Luke 18:1-8, Philippians 4:6-7
Objective: When we have problems, we should pray to God.
Visuals Available (updated 2016)
Memory Verse: from James 5:16, The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
Introduction: Footsteps
This week we're learning about people in the Bible, whose footsteps we should follow. Following their footsteps means doing the same kinds of things that they did, or being the kind of people that they were.
Story: Hannah
In the Old Testament, there's a story about a woman named Hannah, who was married to a man named Elkanah. Even though they had been married for a while, Hannah had no children. She wanted to have children, but she was barren. That means her body couldn't have kids. It wasn't her fault: sometimes a woman just can't have any children. It happens. And it was happening to Hannah. Other women were having children, but Hannah was barren. Hannah's husband loved her very much. He said, Am I not better to you than ten sons? But she still wanted children.
Peninnah had children, and she teased Hannah and made fun of her because she didn't have any. Peninnah irritated Hannah on purpose. This bothered Hannah, not just because she didn't like being picked on, but also because it reminded her of a sad thing – that she couldn't have any children. Hannah wanted children, and Peninnah knew it. Picking on her for it wasn't very nice, but Peninnah kept doing it anyway. Every time Hannah went up to the temple to worship God, Peninnah was there, picking on her, making fun of her for not having any children. This went on for years.
Hannah could have been angry at Peninnah. But what Hannah really wanted was to have a child. She knew that attacking Peninnah wouldn't solve her problem. Only God could give her a child.
So one year, when they made their trip to Shiloh to visit the temple*, when Hannah went up to the temple to worship the Lord that year, she prayed to God for a child. She took her request to him. Hannah didn't just pray real quick: Dear God, please give me a child, amen. She cried to the Lord, and she wept, and she prayed and prayed for God to see her misery and give her a son. And she promised that if she could only have a son, she would give him back to God: she would send him to work in the temple and serve the Lord.
As she was praying, one of the priests, a man named Eli, noticed that she was crying and her mouth was moving. He didn't know about her situation, so he didn't realize she was praying for a child. In fact, when he saw her lips moving and no sound coming out, Eli thought she was drunk! Then he spoke to her. He yelled at her for being drunk and told her to get rid of her wine.
Hannah told Eli the priest that she wasn't drunk, just deeply troubled and sad, and that she had been praying earnestly to God. Then Eli told her to go in peace. May the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him, he said.
And God did. Later that year, Hannah had a son. She named him Samuel, and when he was old enough, she took him to the temple to serve the Lord, just like she had promised. When he grew up, Samuel became a prophet and a leader, one of the most famous men in the whole history of Israel. The books of 1st and 2nd Samuel, in the Bible, are named for him. And he was born because Hannah prayed to God. Hannah believed God could help her, and he did.
Application: Prayer
When there's something that you need, or that you want, do you pray, or do you just wish for it and forget to tell God? And if you do pray, do you really trust that God can answer your prayer? When we go to God, and we ask him for what we need, he listens. The Bible says that God loves us. He made the flowers, and he made them beautiful. He takes care of the birds. But he loves us more than the birds or the flowers. So when we ask him for something that we need, he's even more likely to give it to us.
Invitation: Prayer
Invite any children who want to learn to pray to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.
Footnotes:
* - Traditionally, this temple has often been called the tabernacle. (This was before Solomon constructed the more permanent temple building in Jerusalem.)

Footsteps of Service

Friday:Footsteps of Service
Story Passages: Philippians 4:10-19, 2nd Kings 4:8-13
Other Passages: Acts 9:36-39, 1st Corinthians 12-14
Objective: We should serve God by serving others.
Visuals Available (updated 2016)
Memory Verse: Philippians 2:4, Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others.
Introduction: Footsteps
This week we're learning about people in the Bible, whose footsteps we should follow. Following their footsteps means doing the same kinds of things that they did, or being the kind of people that they were. Tonight we're going to talk about two examples – one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament – of people who offered God their time and money. These people served God by the way they served other people. The first example is a man named Epaphroditus, who helped the apostle Paul.
Story: Epaphroditus
The apostle Paul spent many years in prison. He had been put in prison for telling people about Jesus. Back then, the government didn't guarantee people the freedom to talk about their religion, so if you were talking about Jesus and there were some people in town who didn't like it, sometimes they could get you arrested and thrown into prison. This happened to Paul a lot.
Prisons were different in Paul's day, too. While he was in prison, the soldiers were not going to bring him food. If his friends and family didn't bring it to him, he would starve, and would no longer be able to help the churches. So it was important for others who believed in Jesus to take care of Paul. Someone needed to bring him food and other things that he needed. Someone did. Someone named Epaphroditus left his home, his job, and his family, and took the gifts that the church collected to help Paul. He took it all the way to Rome, where Paul was, and brought it to him. Because Epaphroditus did that, Paul was able to write letters to churches, letters that we now have in our Bible. Epaphroditus served God by taking care of Paul.
Application: Giving Time
[On the blackboard/whiteboard/overhead/whatever, write "Giving Your Time" at the top, and underline it. Ask the kids for ways that we today can spend our time to serve other people and thus to serve God. e.g., we can rake leaves for the pastor, we can pray for missionaries, we can serve food at a funeral dinner, we can babysit kids for a sick woman at church, etc. List a whole bunch of possibilities – things that don't cost money, but are just things we can do that are a service.]
Story: The Shunammite
In the Old Testament, there was a prophet named Elisha. Sometimes Elisha had to go to Shunem, and he had no place to stay. He would have been sleeping outside. But there was a woman who lived there, whose husband was old and rich. She noticed that Elisha was a man of God. So one day, when Elisha came to Shunem, the woman asked him to stay for a meal and eat with her family. She had plenty, so it was no big deal. So then every time Elisha passed through Shunem, he stayed for a meal at her house.
Then the woman noticed that he was coming to town a lot, and had no place to stay. There were no hotels. So she said to her husband, I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. Let's make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us. So they did. She wanted to serve God by taking care of the prophet Elisha.
Elisha noticed her kindness, and wanted to repay her, by giving her a blessing. But he didn't know what she wanted. So he asked her, You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? But the woman didn't want to be repaid for her service. She said, I have a home among my own people. In other words, I'm already taken care of. When you're serving God, you don't need to be repaid. You're not doing it to gain something. You're doing it for God. (Now, Elisha did go on to do something very special for the woman later. But that's another story.)
Application: Giving Stuff
[On the blackboard/whatever, write "Giving Stuff", and underline it. Ask the kids for ways that we today can give stuff to other people and thus serve God. e.g., we can send money to missionaries, bring food to people who are sick, letting traveling missionaries stay in your home, helping people who have lost their jobs, contributing money for poor kids to go to church camp, etc.]
Invitation: Service
Invite any children who want to serve God in the church to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.

Look and Live: the Snake and the Son

Wednesday:Look and Live: the Snake and the Son
Story Passage: Numbers 21:4-9
Other Passages: John 3
Objective: We should look to Jesus, trusting in God for our salvation.
Visuals Available (updated 2016)
Memory Verse: John 3:14-15, Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
Introduction: Footsteps
This week we're learning about people in the Bible, whose footsteps we should follow. Following their footsteps means doing the same kinds of things that they did, or being the kind of people that they were. Today's lesson is about some people who had to learn to trust God, just like people today also need to learn to trust God. We aren't born trusting God. We need to follow in their footsteps and make the right choice to trust God, just like they did.
Story: The Bronze Snake
When the Israelites were wandering in the desert, they started to complain and grumble. They blamed God and they blamed their leader Moses for their unhappiness. Because they spoke against God, God punished them by sending poisonous snakes to bite them!
So the people ran to Moses and begged for help. We're sorry! We were wrong. Pray to God, and ask him to make the snakes go away. Moses did pray to God, but God didn't take the snakes away.
Instead, he told Moses what to do, to keep the people from dying from the poison. He told him to make a metal snake, and put it up high on a pole, where anyone could see it. God said that if someone was bitten by a snake, they should look a the metal snake on the pole, and then they wouldn't die. And because God said it, it worked: when people who were bitten by the snakes looked at the metal snake, they didn't die. But people who didn't look at the metal snake died from the snakebites. It was their choice. They had to believe God and trust in his ability to save them.
Looking at the snake on the pole didn't work because metal snakes are magic. If you get bitten by a poisonous snake today, you wouldn't look for a metal snake. You'd look for a hospital. So why did looking at the snake on the pole work for the Israelites?
The snakes weren't their real problem. Their real problem was that they needed to trust God. That's why God sent them the snakes in the first place: because they needed to trust God. Looking to the snake, like God said to do, was something they could do to show that they were trusting in God to save them. Metal snakes don't save people from snakebite venom. But God can.
Application: Salvation
In the New Testament, a man named Nicodemus came to talk with Jesus. Nicodemus knew that Jesus was from God. Jesus told Nicodemus that he needed to be born again, but Nicodemus didn't understand what it meant.
So Jesus explained: Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. Jesus was saying that in order to be saved from our sins, we have to trust in him, just as the Israelites in the desert who needed to be saved from snake poison had to trust in God's ability to save them, by looking at the metal snake on the pole. Jesus was going to be lifted up on the cross, and when we look to him and believe that God can save us through him, we can be saved from our sins.
Invitation: Salvation
Invite any children who want to be saved to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.

Do What It Says

Tuesday:Do What It Says
Story Passage: Nehemiah 7-8
Other Passages: Leviticus 23:33-43, Numbers 29:12-39, Deuteronomy 16:13-17, 2nd Chronicles 36:21, Hebrews 3:7-4:2
Objective: We should study God's word and obey it.
Visuals Available (updated 2016)
Memory Verse: James 1:22, Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
Introduction: Background
This week we're learning about people in the Bible, whose footsteps we should follow. Following their footsteps means doing the same kinds of things that they did, or being the kind of people that they were.
Two books of the Bible, Ezra and Nehemiah, are named after two men in our story today. Nehemiah was the governor, and Ezra was a priest.
Nehemiah was in charge of rebuilding the city of Jerusalem. It had been seventy years since the Israelites had last lived in the city, and now that they were back, the city was in bad shape. Nehemiah was concerned about the city – buildings in poor condition, the city's defensive wall crumbled to pieces, and so on – but Nehemiah was also concerned that the people had not been able to study God's word or worship God properly while they were away.
Story: Reading from the Book of the Law
Back then the people didn't all have their own Bibles, and many of them couldn't read anyway. So they planned for a day when they could all gather together and hear Ezra the priest read from God's word. They knew that there would be a big crowd, so they built a special platform for Ezra to stand on so he'd be high enough for everyone to see and hear him.
When the day came, everyone gathered together, and Ezra got up on the platform and read aloud from the book all morning long. For about six hours, the people stood quietly and listened carefully, even the kids, everyone who was old enough to understand. Ezra praised God and read to the people from God's word.
As the people listened to the word that Ezra was reading, they started to cry, because there were things written in God's word that they had not been obeying, things they didn't even know about. For seventy years they had not heard from God's word like this. Many of the people weren't even that old, so they'd never heard these things.
Ezra and Nehemiah told the people to stop crying, because this was a good day. They had heard God's word, and now they knew what it said. It was a good day. So for the rest of the day they celebrated. They ate, and they shared, and they celebrated because they had learned from God.
One of the things that they learned about that they had not been remembering to do was the Festival of Booths (Sukkot), which God had told the Israelites to do every year. In the seventh month they were supposed to gather sticks from the countryside and make temporary shelters, and live in them for a week instead of their regular houses, to remind them of the forty years that their great-great-great-... grandparents lived in tents wandering in the desert, because of their unbelief, when God brought them out of Egypt and into their own land. The Israelites were supposed to celebrate this holiday every year, but they hadn't been doing it.
So the next day, they went out and started gathering branches and making the shelters.
Application: Obeying God's Word
The Israelites understood that it wasn't enough to just read the Bible and then go about their lives just like they had been. They needed to do what it said. That's still true today: when we study the Bible, we should be looking for things we can apply to our lives. We should do what God's word tells us. We should follow in the footsteps of Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Israelites who listened to God's word and wanted to obey it.
Invitation: Obedience
Invite any children who want to learn to obey God's word to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.

Two Obedient Men: Caleb & Joshua

Monday:Two Obedient Men: Caleb & Joshua
Story Passage: Numbers 13-14
Other Passages:
Objective: We should trust and obey God.
Visuals Available (updated 2016)
Memory Verse: 1st John 2:5, But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him.
Introduction: Footsteps
This week we're going to be learning about some people in the Bible, whose footsteps we should follow. What does it mean to follow in somebody's footsteps? [Accept some answers.] It means doing the same kinds of things that they did, or being the kind of person that they were. Today, we're going to talk about following in the footsteps of two men named Caleb and Joshua. God honored them for what they did, because they obeyed God. So we know these are good footsteps to follow.
Story: Caleb & Joshua
The Lord told Moses to pick out twelve men from Israel, one from each tribe, and send them to investigate the land that God was going to give them. Two of them men Moses chose were Joshua and Caleb. He also sent ten other men. They explored the land for forty days: they looked around to see how strong the people were who lived there, what kind of cities they had, and they took samples of the fruit that grew there.
When they came back to the camp to report to Moses, they told him that the land was very good. They showed him one cluster of grapes that was so big, two men had to carry it. But ten of the men were afraid to go take the land, because they were afraid of the people who lived there, and the strong walls around the cities. Now, Joshua and Caleb knew that God had said he was going to give them the land, so Caleb said, We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.
You see, Caleb believed God, and wanted to obey what God had told them to do.
The Point: Obey God
Why did Caleb say that they should go take the land? He wanted to obey God. Caleb trusted God, and knew that doing what God said to do was the best thing.
Story: What Happened Next?
Caleb and Joshua wanted to obey God, but the other ten men were afraid, so they started spreading rumors, exaggerating how big and bad the people were. They said that they felt like grasshoppers next to them, even though really they were only a little smaller. Also, they lied about the land, and said that it wasn't very good land.
God punished the people for their disobedience. Because they were unwilling to obey, they had to wander around in the desert for an extra forty years. Of the twelve men who had explored the land, only Caleb and Joshua, the ones who had wanted to obey, were the only ones who lived through the forty years and got to go into the land. God rewarded them for their obedience.
Application: Group Disobedience
Have you ever been in a group of people who were all disobeying? Imagine you're playing with your friends, and they all decide to start doing something you're not supposed to do. Let's say you're at a birthday party with ten friends, and they all decide to start watching a movie that you know your mom said you shouldn't watch. Let's say you go ahead and watch it with them, because, hey, they are all watching it. What would you tell your mom when she finds out you watched it?
It's hard to obey when all the people around you are going the other direction. But Caleb and Joshua obeyed. When their friends said, we can't do it, we can't go into that land, it's too scary, Caleb and Joshua spoke up. They tried to remind the people of what God had said. They didn't get the people to obey, but God honored Caleb and Joshua for their obedience. So even if you can't get all your friends to do the right thing, it's still important for you to obey.
Invitation: Obedience
Invite any children who want to follow in the footsteps of Caleb and Joshua to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.

Second Round of Fishing for Christ Decoration Photos

While we're waiting for the aforementioned Footsteps lessons to be reviewed, I thought I'd post the second round of photographs from 2009. This first shot shows a section of wall with fish and bubbles. We actually made all those fish back in 2004, when we used this theme the first time: we photocopied various outline-style images, colored them in with markers, cut them out, and laminated them. When we took them down after VBS, we saved them, because we knew we'd be using the theme again. The bubbles are just little circles of blue construction paper in about three different sizes.

This one shows a different section of wall, this time with seaweed (made from green construction paper) in addition to the fish and bubbles.
Here you can see one of the nets that we hung from the ceiling. (We bought half a dozen of these nets from the Oriental Trading Company.) In the background you can also see mobiles. The mobiles are a kit that someone bought for us in 2004, and the fish and things hanging from them, and the other ones hanging from the ceiling, are also from a purchased kit. They're double-sided, which is why we hung them from the ceiling rather than on the wall. We use fishing line to hang them, because it's cheap and durable and easy to work with and sufficiently transparent that you mostly don't notice it.
In the auditorium we hang flags of the countries where we have missionaries.
Here's another of those nets, this time by the front entrance. We originally tried to use masking tape to stick it up, which didn't hold well, as you can see. So we switched to the blue tacky stuff, which worked much better.
In the stairwell we had some ceiling tiles out, due to an ongoing renovation project (something to do with the new lighting fixture being a different form-factor from the old one, I think, and also we were putting some of the existing wiring into conduit, because it should have been that way in the first place). So I figured we'd make the best of the unsightly mess by hanging a decoration from it! Indeed, the open ceiling made it really easy to hang the net in exactly the configuration I wanted, because I wasn't restricted by tile-boundaries and could tie up bits of the net more or less wherever I wanted.
We also hung a net from the preschool-room ceiling.
I think that about wraps it up for the 2009 decoration photos. I expect the Footsteps lessons will be forthcoming soon, now, and then we can start gearing up for 2010.

Footsteps Lessons Planned

Okay, it's been a bit of a long haul, but we now have a pretty good idea where we're going with the sixth theme. Some of the lessons that we were thinking of doing turned out not to be workable for most of the age groups, so we ended up scrapping the idea of sticking with the patriarchs and have instead broadened it to Biblical role models in general, renaming the theme from "Footsteps of the Fathers" to the more general "Following the Footsteps". We have three of the elementary lessons basically written (and memory verses picked out for them), know for sure what the fourth one is going to be, and have several reasonable ideas for the fifth. So we should be finishing up the lessons soon now and start posting things. Thanks for your patience.
Update (November 16): All five lessons are now essentially complete and have been presented to our Pastor for review. (We always run the Bible lessons by the Pastor to have them checked for Biblical accuracy.) So we should have something to post here soon.

Fish Gack Recipe Updated

I've updated the Fish Gack Recipe with more precise measurements.

Decoration Photos, First Installment

This is our main bulletin board for the elementary group. The items on this board are images out of the main Bible lessons. For example, the fish on the left with the coin in its mouth comes from the first day's story, about Peter and the temple tax. To make these, we trace line drawings (mostly out of coloring books) onto overhead transparencies (using wet-erase markers), project them up onto posterboard, trace the lines with pencil, and paint. Once the paint dries, we outline with black marker and cut them out.


This is the bulletin board in the preschool room, which is built around the Wordless Book lessons. Each strip of color represents the concept for one day's lesson, with a corresponding picture.
In the teen room we don't have a bulletin board, so instead we just put posterboard directly on the walls. This year we went with a missions theme for the room, hence, continents with people on them.
Between the auditorium and the foyer, our building has some internal windows. For Bible School we always do a three-panel scene made to fit. Putting them behind the glass really brings them out, we think. Anyway, this scene is supposed to represent following Jesus, which goes with one of the Bible lessons.
I don't know when or why those cuphooks were put up over the auditorium doors, but they sure came in handy for hanging this net. This is just the first batch. We've also got wall decorations (fish), decorations hanging from the ceilings (more fish), and a couple of other things, but I'll save those for another post.

Now What? Discussion Questions

Friday:Now What?
Missions Concepts: Missionaries disciple new believers, plant churches, and train pastors.
Missions Examples: Project Timothy (Uberlandia, Brazil)
Bible Passages: [needed]
  1. In the skit, what did the fisherman need to do?
  2. What do people need after they come to know Jesus Christ as savior? Why?
  3. What do the missionaries in Brazil do once people accept Jesus?
  4. What can we do here?

Reel 'em In Discussion Questions

Thursday:Reel 'em In
Missions Concepts: Missionaries must present the gospel to unbelievers.
Missions Examples: India (starting churches).
Bible Passages: Romans 2:12-13, 3:20-24, 5:15-18, 6:10-18, 7:22-8:11, 10:10-15, 12:1-8.
  1. In the skit, what did Bob need to do once a fish started nibbling at his bait?
  2. When we're talking to people, what do we need to do once they're interested?
  3. How can we do that?
  4. What do the missionaries in India do once the people in a village become interested?

The Right Bait Discussion Questions

Wednesday:The Right Bait
Missions Concepts: Missionaries look for opportunities to interest people in the good news.
Missions Examples: Peter Bejenke (Germany), Paul Rajan (India)
Bible Passages: [needed]
  1. In the skit, why wasn't Bob catching any fish?
  2. What was Peter Bejenke doing in Germany to create opportunities to talk to people?
  3. What kinds of bait are Paul Rajan and his fellow workers using in India?
  4. What kinds of things can we do here in Galion?

Fishin' Gear Discussion Questions

Tuesday:Fishin' Gear
Missions Concepts: Missionaries must be properly equipped for missions.
Missions Examples: Vermont (Tom Ricker)
Bible Passages: [needed]
  1. In the skit, what was Sally's problem? What did she need to do differently? Why?
  2. What did Tom and Janelle Ricker do to prepare for God's work in Vermont?
  3. Why was that preparation important?
  4. How can a church help people prepare to do missions work?

Goin' Fishin' Discussion Questions

Monday:Goin' Fishin'
Missions Concepts: Missionaries go where the people are, but they need consent to come.
Missions Examples: India (no missionary visas)
Bible Passages: [needed]
  1. Why was the character in the skit dangling a line in the water? Was he being effective? Why?
  2. How is fishing for men similar to fishing for fish?
  3. What kinds of missions work can a missionary do on a tourist visa? What kinds of work require a longer stay?
  4. Do you know of some places where there are people who need to hear the good news? Where?

Fishing for Christ

Fishing for Christ

[logo]
This was the first theme we thought up, and while it's not the most conceptually cohesive, it does make for great decorations. The lessons here are pretty basic, covering the deity of Christ, his substitutionary death, his resurrection, and the commission he gave to his disciples. There is an emphasis on salvation.
This theme is mostly complete and online now.
Elementary Preschool Teens
Monday Bible Lesson:The Fish with the Coin. Bible Lesson:The Coin in the Fish's Mouth Bible Lesson:The Fish and the Coin*
Memory Verse:Matthew 16:16 Second Lesson:Black Discussion:5 Questions
Missions:Goin' Fishin' Missions:Goin' Fishin' Discussion Questions
Craft:CD Fish* (see here or here) Craft:CD Fish (ibid) Craft:Polished Aluminum Scene
Game:Oven Mitt Relay Game:Fish Coin Hunt Game:Oven Mitt Relay
Snack: Chocolate Coins (updated 2015)
Tuesday Bible Lesson:The Sign of Jonah Bible Lesson:Jonah: Obey God Bible Lesson:Sign of Jonah
Memory Verse:Romans 6:23 Second Lesson:Red Discussion:5 Questions
Missions:Fishing Gear Missions:Fishing Gear Discussion Questions
Craft:Sign of Jonah Craft: Craft:Sign of Jonah (teen version)
Game:Team Slide Game:Diving into the Whale Game:Team Slide
Snack: Whale Cookies (updated 2015)
Wednesday Bible Lesson:Raised from the Dead Bible Lesson:Feeding the Big Crowd Bible Lesson:Raised from the Dead
Memory Verse:1st John 4:10 Second Lesson:White Discussion:5 Questions
Missions:The Right Bait Missions:The Right Bait Discussion Questions
Craft:Sponge-Painted Tomb Scene Craft:Basket of Fish and Bread Craft:Colored Sand Tomb Scene
Game:Wet Sponge Relay Game:Twelve Baskets Full Game:Wet Sponge Relay
Snack: fish sticks (updated 2015)
Thursday Bible Lesson:Following God Bible Lesson:Fish in the Net Bible Lesson:Following God
Memory Verse:2nd John 1:6 Second Lesson:Gold Discussion:6 Questions
Missions:Reel 'em In Missions:Reel 'em In Discussion Questions
Craft:Fishing All Night Boat Scene Craft:Peat Pot Tomb Scene Craft:Memory Verse on Heart**
Game: Hula Hoop Net Race
Snack: Goldfish crackers
Friday Bible Lesson:Fishers of Men Bible Lesson:Fishers of Men Bible Lesson:Fishers of Men
Memory Verse:Matthew 4:19 Second Lesson:Green Discussion:6 Questions
Missions:Now What? Missions:Now What Discussion Questions
Craft: Wordless Bracelet
Game: Fishermen's Relay
Snack: Cupcakes
* - Items marked with an asterisk are incomplete or otherwise need work.
Substitute Indoor Games:
Decorations:

Fishing For Christ Decoration Plans

  • We took some outline pictures of fish (from the Open Clip Art Library and other sources), printed them, colored them with markers, cut them out, laminated, and used Handi-Tak to stick them to the walls all over the place.
  • We also hung some fish from mobiles from the ceiling.
  • We got some decorative fish nets (Oriental Trading Company sells them) to hang from the ceiling, and we put small stuffed-animal fish in them.
  • On the elementary bulletin board we placed pictures representing the Bible lessons: a fish with a coin in its mouth, a whale with the numeral 3, an empty tomb, a fire with fish cooking over it, and a globe hanging from a fishing rod. To create the pictures, we traced coloring-book pictures onto overhead transparencies, projected them onto posterboard, traced, painted, let them dry, outlined in black marker, and cut them out.
  • For the preschool bulletin board, we decorated to go with the wordless-book lessons: five vertical stripes in black, red, white, yellow, and green, with a picture on each: a group of children fighting to represent sin, a crucifix, a heart shape, a golden city, and a family going to church.
  • We've got one place in our building where we always put a scene made from three large posterboard panels. This year the scene was a path, with hills and mountains in the background, and Jesus is walking the path at one end (the beginning of the scene) followed by a long string of other people, starting with four disciples with a fishing net, then other Bible characters, and progressing to modern-day people, including children.
  • For the walls in the teen room, we did continents, with people on them representing corresponding ethnic categories. (Well, we tried. Some ethnicities can be hard to draw if you live in rural Ohio and don't see very many foreigners.) We originally intended to have the people being pulled out of their continents by grabbing onto Bibles or crosses or something on the ends of fishing lines, but it turned out we didn't have the artistic skill to make that happen.
  • We're also thinking of using various non-sharp fishing gear (cane poles, bobbers, etc) around the building, probably on the walls up high enough to be out of reach of the younger children.
I've got a digital camera now, so once we get our decorations all put up I'll post some photos. Update: see the first batch of decoration photos.

Now What?

Friday:Now What?
Bible Lesson: Fishers of Men
Memory Verse: Matthew 4:19
Missions Concepts: Missionaries disciple new believers, plant churches, and train pastors.
Missions Examples: Project Timothy (Uberlandia, Brazil)
Bible Passages: [needed]
[Start with the skit, Unprepared Fishermen V.]
Introduction: Fishing
In the skit, what did Bob need to do with the fish, after it was out of the water? That's right, he needed to put it in the bucket, with the other fish.
Did you know, after people come to know Jesus, they need something similar? Do we put them in a bucket? No. But they do need to be with a group of other believers, who are learning about God. What do we call a group like that? (A church.)
Example: Project Timothy
In Uberlandia, Brazil, Pastor Sebastian is Fishing for Christ. But now, he's not doing it alone, because he has other men working with him – men who are trained in the Bible, and are planting churches. Do you know where these men came from? They came from Pastor Sebastian's church. When these men heard the good news about Jesus, he didn't just send them on their way. He continued to teach them, everything that they needed to know, about Jesus, about God, and about the Bible. Now, some of these men are ready to go fishing themselves, and they are planting more churches.
The Point: Discipleship
[needed]
Application: Now What?
This week here at Bible School, some of you may have received Jesus, or maybe some of your friends heard the good news about how to be saved. Should you quit coming once that happens? Should you quit bringing that friend who got saved? No! Once we're a part of the body of Christ, we still need to be learning, everything God wants us to know, so that we can grow in our faith and be able to share with others.
Invitation: Missions
Invite any children who want to do missions work to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.

Reel 'em In

Thursday:Reel 'em In
Bible Lesson: Following God (Fishing All Night)
Memory Verse: 2nd John 1:6
Missions Concepts: Missionaries must present the gospel to unbelievers.
Missions Examples: [needed]
Bible Passages: Romans 2:12-13, 3:20-24, 5:15-18, 6:10-18, 7:22-8:11, 10:10-15, 12:1-8.
[Start with the skit, Unprepared Fishermen IV.]
Introduction: Fishing
In the skit, Bob reeled in the fish using his rod and line. When we're fishing for Christ, how do we reel people in for salvation? The Bible asks a question: how can people believe in Jesus if they've not heard of him, and how can they hear if nobody tells them?
So, after we use our bait and start talking to people, to our friends, how do we reel them in? What do we tell them about Jesus?
Example:
[needed]
The Point: Share the Good News
Once you have someone's interest, and they want to know about God, what can you tell them? What do they need to know to be saved? [Accept some answers.]
First, they need to know that they need to be saved! Why do we need a savior? Why do we need Jesus? [Accept answers.] Our sin separates us from God. Because God is perfect, the bad things we do make us unacceptable to him. He can't take us in, if we're like that! Can we change, and be good on our own? No, we can't. Our sin traps us, and keeps us from God.
So after our friends know that they need to be saved from their sin, what else do they need to know? Don't they need to know where salvation comes from? So, what do you tell them? How can our sins be forgiven? [Because Jesus paid the penalty for us.]
Application: Reeling in Your Friends wiht the Wordless Bracelet
[Explain how the wordless bracelet (which they will be making in crafts the next night) can be used to share the good news. Talk about the meaning of each of the five colors and how these five things add up to make a gospel presentation.]
Invitation: Evangelism
Invite any children who want to share the good news with their friends to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.

The Right Bait

Wednesday:The Right Bait
Bible Lesson: Raised from the Dead
Memory Verse: 1st John 4:10
Missions Concepts: Missionaries look for opportunities to interest people in the good news.
Missions Examples: Peter Bejenke makes bread. In India they maintain orphanages and build houses.
Bible Passages: [needed]
[Start with the skit, Unprepared Fishermen III.]
Introduction: Fishing
In the skit, what did Bob need, in order to catch fish? That's right, he needed bait.
Did you know, missionaries use bait too? Now, they don't use worms, and crickets, and minnows, and they're not trying to trick people into getting caught, but missionaries do have to get people interested in what they're talking about. They need bait.
Example: Bread Ministry
In Germany, Peter Bejenke was having trouble getting people to come to his church. He wanted to tell people about Jesus, but they didn't know they needed to hear, so they didn't realize they should come. Do you know what he did? He started baking bread. Now, Pastor Peter used to bake bread before, before he was a pastor. But now he's baking bread again, and people come into his bakery store to buy bread. Now, people are coming to Pastor Peter. Now, he has an opportunity to talk to people. And now that he's talking to people, he can tell them about Jesus.
Example: Orphanages
In India, Paul Rajan builds orphanages, to help young boys who have no good place to live. While they're there, he can tell them about Jesus. Sometimes they build houses for people who have lost their homes. And they can tell them about Christ. At one of the orphanages, the children are very excited about Jesus. They sing songs, and they worship. And now, some of the families from the communities come and see the orphanage, see what is being done for the children, and [become interested].
The Point: Bait
Here, sometimes we need a way to tell our friends about Jesus. Sometimes we need bait.
One thing that we use for bait is Bible School. Your friends will want to come have fun at Bible School – and they will have fun, but while they're here, they can also here the good news about Jesus.
What else can you use as bait? [Accept some answers.]
Invitation: Missions
Invite any children who want to do missions work to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.

Fishing Gear

Tuesday:Fishing Gear
Bible Lesson: The Sign of Jonah: Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sin.
Memory Verse: Romans 6:23
Missions Concepts: Missionaries must be properly equipped for missions.
Missions Examples: Vermont (Tom Ricker)
Bible Passages: [needed]
Introduction: Fishing
[Start with the skit, Unprepared Fishermen II]
In the skit, what did Sally find out she needs, in order to catch fish? That's right, she needed a fishing rod, and a line, and a hook. The rod and reel and line and hook are the equipment that fishermen use to catch fish.
The Point: Missionaries need to be equipped.
Did you know, that if you're fishing for Christ, you need to be equipped for that, too? You don't need a fishing rod or a hook, but you do need to know your Bible, so that you know the message that you're giving to people, and you do need prayer support from others, and if you have to leave the country to be a full-time missionary overseas, you would need financial support and other things.
Example: Vermont
Last month, Pastor Tom Ricker, and his wife Janelle, left their home in Ohio and went to Vermont, to try to start a church in Burlington. In order to do this, they had to be ready. They needed fishing gear. What do you suppose they did, to get ready to go? They studied maps of Vermont, so that they would know the geography of the area. They studied the culture: what the people in the area are like, and what's important to them, so that they would know what kind of people they're going fishing for. They had to know what things cost in Vermont, so that they could be prepared and have a plan for how to live there. They talked to churches and gathered prayer support, and also financial support.
Most of all, Pastor Tom had to be trained. He took Bible classes, and theology courses, and other kinds of training. He spent years doing his. Then he practiced under another man, an older pastor, in Ankneytown, so that he would be ready. Now Pastor Tom has been a pastor on his own for several years, and he's been tested by other pastors and approved, so that all the churches who are supporting him can know that he is qualified.
So now Pastor Tom is equipped to take the good news about Jesus to the people in Vermont. He's got his fishing gear, and he's ready to get started.
Application: Equipped for Missions
When you're fishing for Christ, at school, or in your neighborhood, you need to be equipped too. How do you get that training? [Accept some answers.] That's right. You should be coming to church, to learn the Bible. You should be reading your Bible, and praying. Those things are your fishing equipment. Make sure you go home and memorize your Bible verse tonight!
Invitation: Missions
Invite any children who want to be better equipped to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.