The Beginning of the Church

Friday:The Beginning of the Church
Story Passages: Acts 1:1-11, Acts 2:22-24, 29-41
Other Passages: Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:14-20, Luke 24:36-49, John 10:16, John 21:15-19
Objective: The church was begun in order to witness for God in all parts of the earth.
Memory Verse: Acts 2:32, God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.
Introduction: Where did the Church Come From?
Has there always been a church? If you had been in the Garden of Eden, with Adam and Eve, was there a church there? What about if you were on the ark, with Noah and his family? Was there a church then? Did Abraham go to church? Abraham worshiped God, but he didn't have a church. Where did the church come from?
Story: The Beginning of the Church
After Jesus was raised from the dead, and had been walking around for a few weeks, Jesus told his disciples, Don't leave Jerusalem yet, wait for the Holy Spirit. The disciples asked if Jesus was going to be king right now, in Israel. Jesus said, God the Father decides when that will be. You don't need to know that right now. But when the Holy Spirit comes, you will receive power, and you will be my witnesses all over the world. Soon after that, Jesus went up into the sky, toward heaven, and a cloud hid him from them. Two angels came and told the disciples that he would come back in the same way some day.
A few weeks later, the disciples were sitting in a house in Jerusalem, together, doing just what Jesus had told them to do, waiting for the Holy Spirit. Just as Jesus had promised, he came. They said it looked like tongues of fire, and the power that they were promised came too! A crowd of believing Jews from all over the world were staying in the city of Jerusalem that day, because it was a holiday. They all heard the noise, and came to the house where the disciples were. And the disciples spoke to them, and they all understood in their own languages what was being said about Jesus. After this day, all of those people from all over the world were able to go home and start churches of believers, because they all heard the good news about Jesus from the disciples in Jerusalem that day. The disciples really were witnesses for all over the world, before they even left Jerusalem.
Transition: Waiting for the Spirit
Why do you suppose Jesus told them to wait for the Holy Spirit? Jesus knew that when the holiday of Pentecost came, all those people would be there from all over the world. Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem, because he wanted them to tell all of those people about Jesus. He wanted the people from all those different countries to all have churches, so they could worship God, learn about Jesus, and be witnesses to their own people. Jesus knew that the best missionaries of all are the people who live there.
The Point: Witnesses in the Church
How do you suppose churches came to [your town]? Somebody came here, who knew about Jesus, and when they came, guess what? They told people about Jesus, right here where they lived. The people who believed got together to pray, to study the Bible, and to worship God, and they invited friends, and pretty soon there was a church. What's a church? Is it a building? (No.) A church might have a building, but what is a church? A church is a group of people, people who believe in Jesus, and tell other people about Him. Are you part of a church? Do you believe in Jesus? Do you tell other people about him?
Invitation: Church Membership
[Invite the children to stay after the lesson and discuss how to belong to the church.]

The Beginning of the Promise

Thursday:The Beginning of the Promise
Story Passage: Genesis 15
Other Passages: Romans 4:3-16, Genesis 3:15, 9:8-17, 12:2-3, 15:1-21, 17:15-22, 28:10-15; Isaiah 9:1-7, Isaiah 53; Malachi 3:1, 3:16-4:6
Objective: We should have faith like Abraham.
Memory Verse: Hebrews 11:6, Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Introduction: Abraham
Has anyone here heard of Abraham before? Who was Abraham? Abraham lived in the Bible times. It talks about him in the book of Genesis. God called Abraham to leave his home land and go to the place God would show him. Abraham took off walking, and he didn't know the place where he was going. God took him through several different places before he finally got where he was going. Did you ever get in the car and go all sorts of places and not know where you would end up? Abraham wasn't worried, though, because he trusted God, just like you probably trusted your parents when they took you places in the car. Abraham finally came to the land we now call Israel, and God promised Abraham that his children, his offspring, would live in that land, that it would be theirs.
Story: The Promise
One evening, Abraham was whining. He said, My wife and I don't have any children, and when we die, all of our stuff will go to our servant, Eliezer. But God said, Eliezer is not your heir. You will have a child. Abraham and Sarah were old, and old people don't usually have kids. But God showed Abraham the stars in the sky, and said, Count them, if you can. That's how your offspring will be. Now, there are a lot of stars, but Abraham believed God. Would you believe God, if he told you that you would have that many children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren? Abraham believed. Abraham did have a son – two sons, in fact, but the son God promised him was named Isaac.
God had already promised Abraham that all the peoples on the earth would be blessed through him. Now he had promised him children, and later he promised Abraham more things. God also promised Abraham's grandson, Jacob, that all the peoples on the earth would be blessed through him and his offspring. What was God talking about?
Transition: The Woman's Seed
Who remembers what we talked about on Tuesday? What did Adam and Eve do? Were they supposed to eat from that tree? When they did, God told them some things. One of the things he told them was about their offspring. He said to the serpent, The woman's offspring will crush your head. Now, hundreds of years later, he's telling Abraham and his grandson Jacob that their offspring will bless the whole world. God was talking about the same person. Who do you suppose he was talking about, who would crush Satan and bless the whole world?
Application: Faith
God was talking about Jesus. Jesus was descended from Jacob, from Abraham, and from Eve. How did Jesus bless the whole world? By dying? Yes, by dying. How did Jesus' dying bless the world? He gave the whole world the chance to have their sins paid. He gave us the gift of life, eternal life, a chance to live forever in heaven with God, if we have faith in what Jesus has done for us. Abraham had faith in what God was going to do for him. God said what he would do, and Abraham believed it, and it was counted as righteousness. We have to have faith in what God already did for us, and it will be counted as righteousness for us. Then we can live with God forever in heaven.
Invitation: Salvation
[Invite the children to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.]

The Beginning of Salvation

Wednesday:The Beginning of Salvation
Story Passage: Genesis 6-9 (especially 6:13, 6:22, 7:18-8:1, 8:21-22)
Other Passages: Matthew 24:36-42, 1st Peter 3:18-22, Genesis 3:15, Romans 6:23, Hebrews 9:26-28, 2nd Corinthians 5:20-6:2
Objective: Sin brings a penalty. Jesus paid our penalty so that we can be saved.
Memory Verse: 1st Corinthians 15:22, For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
Introduction: Review
Who remembers what we talked about yesterday? We talked about how Adam sinned, and now all people are sinful, and how you can't live forever, unless someone pays for that sin. What is sin? Sin is anything you do or think that displeases God. In the Bible, there's a true story about a man named Noah, who lived a long time ago.
Story: The Flood
God gave Noah a special job to do, because all the people were sinning so much. God was tired of their sin, fed up, and he decided to judge the world, and start over again with Noah and his family. The Bible says that Noah was a righteous man; he loved God very much, but his neighbors didn't!
God told Noah, build an ark – a box. He told him how big to make it, and what to make it out of. The ark was going to be a boat, because God was going to send a flood. The ark had to be really big, so it took Noah and his three sons a long time to make it. Now they didn't live by a lake, and it hadn't ever rained, so Noah looked kind of funny to his neighbors, building that great big box in his yard, out of wood. He would tell his neighbors why he was building it, but do you think they listened? They didn't care about God. When the time came to get on the ark, do you suppose any of them got on with him? Only his wife, and his sons, and their wives. Nobody else believed that a flood was really coming.
God sent all the animals, at least two of every kind (seven of some kinds), and they all got on the Ark, with Noah and his family. Then God shut the door, and it rained. And rained. And rained. Do you remember on Monday, when we learned that there was water up above the sky? Is it there today? No. There are little bits of water in the sky, called clouds, but it's not very much. Before the flood, there was a lot of water, an ocean of water, up above the sky, and now it all came raining down, for forty days. Remember how we said the land was all in one big piece. Now it broke up, and water that had been under the ground came up, in fountains, and helped the rainwater to cover the land. Even the highest mountains were flooded, and nobody that was outside the ark could live, except fish.
Transition: The Ark as a Type of Christ
The Ark saved Noah, and his family, and the animals that were with them, from the flood. The flood was God's judgment against the world, for sin, but the Ark, which God told Noah how to build, was the way that they could be saved from that judgment, and live. It's a good thing Noah believed God, and did what he said, because if he hadn't, we wouldn't be here!
The Point: Substitutionary Atonement
Yesterday, we talked about sin, and how all of us sin, and somebody has to pay for it. The only way we can live, is if somebody will save us from God's judgment, by paying for the sin. God always makes a way for us to live. The ark was the way God made for Noah and his family, and anybody else who would get on it, to live through the flood. Jesus, who paid for our sin on the cross, is the way God has made for us, so that we can live with him, in heaven, forever.
Invitation: Salvation
Now I suppose that after it started raining, some of Noah's neighbors might have decided that they wanted on the ark after all, but it was too late; God had already shut the door. There will come a day when it's too late for you to accept Jesus. Don't wait until it's too late. The Bible says that now is the time of salvation.
[Invite the children to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.]

The Beginning of Sin

Tuesday:The Beginning of Sin
Story Passage: Genesis 3
Other Passages: Romans 3:9-26, Hebrews 9:23-28, Revelation 12:9, Isaiah 64:6
Objective: We are sinful and require salvation.
Memory Verse: Romans 3:22, This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
Introduction: Rules
When you go to school, does your teacher have rules? What rules do you have? [Accept some examples from the children.] Can you follow all of those rules all the time every day? Do you ever talk without raising your hand? Have you ever forgotten your homework? When you miss one of the rules, and don't follow it, what happens? You're not perfect. You messed up. We all do it, sometimes. Now, your teacher doesn't always notice, and if your teacher does notice, you might not get into very much trouble, depending on what rule you broke, and whether the teacher thinks you did it on purpose. But the rule is there, and you still broke it.
Story: The Fall into Sin
When God placed the man and the woman in the Garden of Eden, how many rules did he give them? He just gave them one: don't eat from the tree that is in the middle of the garden. It was called the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and he told Adam, If you eat from that tree, you will die.
So what do you suppose Adam and Eve did? They had a little help. There was a serpent. The serpent was very crafty. (It wasn't a regular snake, like we have today. The Bible says that this serpent was really Satan.) Now he knew just what to do, to get Adam to misbehave. He went straight to Eve. Satan figured that if Eve gave Adam the fruit, he'd eat it. So he went to Eve, and he tricked her.
Did God really say, that if you eat from any of the trees in the garden, you'll die?, he asked her. Was that what God said? Eve knew the answer: We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say not to eat fruit from this tree, or we'll die. Then the serpent lied to Eve: You will not die.
So Eve looked at the fruit, and it looked good. The serpent told her, that if she ate the fruit, she would be like God, knowing good and evil. Was that true? Sort of. It's true that when Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they knew good and evil. They already knew good; now, they knew evil as well, because they'd just done evil. Were they like God? Not really.
So the serpent lied, and Eve ate the fruit, and she gave it to Adam, and he ate it too. That was the first sin, and the Bible tells us that now all of us are sinful, because the sin comes down to us from Adam. There's a penalty for that sin. God threw Adam and Eve out of the garden, and took away the Tree of Life, so they could not live forever, because they disobeyed. So they died. Before they died, they had children, and that's why we're here.
The Point: We Need Salvation
How do you live forever? Do people today live forever, usually? No. We all die. We all die, because we all sin, because Adam and Eve sinned. To live forever, we'd have to pay for that sin, or someone would have to pay for us. Can you pay for your own sin, by being good? The Bible says that you could never be good enough, that all our righteous acts are like filthy rags to God, because we're sinful. If we can't be good enough to pay our own penalty for our own sin, how can it be paid? Someone else has to pay it for us. Who could do that? Can your mom and dad pay your penalty for you? No! They aren't good enough, either. They can't pay their own penalty, just like you can't. Only Jesus could pay your penalty.
Invitation: Salvation
Jesus died to pay for your sin. If you want Jesus to pay for your sin, all you have to do is ask. [Invite the children to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.]

The Beginning of Creation

Monday:The Beginning of Creation
Story Passages: Genesis 1, Acts 17:16-33
Other Passages: Ephesians 2:8-10, Colossians 1:15-16, Romans 1:16-21, Romans 8:18-25
Objective: God created the world and deserves our worship.
Memory Verse: Acts 17:24, The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.
Visuals: Available here
Introduction: Where did it come from?
Out in the back yard, there's a big tree. Was it always that big? How did it get to be that big? How long has it been there? What did it come from, before it was a big tree? It was a little tree, once, but what about before that? [A seed.] Where did the seed come from? [Another tree.] Well, where did that tree come from? Where did all the seeds, and all the trees, come from originally? [God created them.] The world hasn't always been here. There was a beginning. Let's go back to the beginning, and explore where things came from...
Story: Paul in Athens
The apostle Paul was waiting in Athens for his two friends, Timothy and Silas, to come meet him. While he was there waiting, he got into a discussion with some of the people of the city, about religion. Paul was telling them about Jesus, and how he died for them and raised from the dead, but these people didn't know Jesus. They didn't know God at all! They had a lot of idols (false gods), but they did not know the true God, the creator.
Paul said he would tell them about the God they did not know. They were interested in this, because they had an altar set up just for a god they might not know. So Paul told them about the God who created the world and everything in it, the heaven and the earth. He said that this God does not live in temples built by human hands, and is not served by human hands, because he doesn't need anything, because God is the one who gives everyone life, breath, and everything else. Then he told them that God had sent Jesus and raised him from the dead, to prove that he is the God who will judge everyone. When the men heard this, some of them laughed, but others believed, including a man named Dionysius and a woman named Damaris.
Transition: Creation
Paul told them that God created the world. How did he know that? Where did he find that out? How did God create the world?
The book of Genesis tells us all about it. Paul had studied the Old Testament (the part of the Bible that was already written back then), including Genesis, so he knew about creation. The Bible says that in the beginning, when nothing was around, not even light or darkness, God created the heavens and the earth. They were pretty plain at first, but in six days God created all the details: light and darkness, the water and the sky, plants, the sun, moon, and stars, birds and fish, animals, and finally people. Then God rested on the seventh day, because his work of creation was done. When the world was first made, all the land was in one place. There weren't different continents like now, and the water was in two places: up above the sky, and down below in one big ocean. There were four rivers that flowed out of a special Garden, called Eden, where God put the man and the woman he had created. All the animals that have ever lived were born from animals that God created in those first six days, and all the people are from Adam and Eve, the first man and woman.
Some people haven't read the Bible, and they try to decide how the world got here, and they come up with all kinds of ideas about that, some sillier than others. Aren't you glad that we know what God says? And God is the only one who was there, so he's the only one who really knows. Everybody else is just guessing, or making stuff up.
Application: Worship the Creator
Since God made the whole world, don't you think that he deserves your respect? We honor God and worship him, because he's God, and because he made us, and made the world, and gave us everything. The Bible tells us, in Ephesians 2, that he made us so that we could worship him, by doing the things he has planned for us to do. Isn't it great to have such a great God we can worship?
Invitation: Commitment to God
Wouldn't you like to promise God that you will worship him, and do the things the he has planned for you to do? [Invite the children to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.]

The Finish Line: Heaven

Friday:The Finish Line: Heaven
Story Passage: Revelation 1:1-20
Other Passages: 2nd Timothy 4:7-8, John 14:1-14, Revelation 21:1-22:6
Objective: Rewards in heaven await believers who finish the race.
Memory Verse: 2nd Timothy 4:7-8, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day...
Introduction: Crown of Righteousness
Who remembers what out theme is for this week? (Running the Race.) [Read 2nd Timothy 4:7-8.] When is this crown of righteousness going to be awarded? (On that day.) After we have finished the race. What race are we running? (The race of life for God.) So after we finish the race, where will be go to be awarded that crown of righteousness? (Heaven.) Who would like to know about what heaven is like?
Story: The Revelation
When the Apostle John was very old, he was exiled to the island of Patmos. That means he wasn't allowed to leave. He says, that it was because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus that he was exiled on the island. He had been teaching about Jesus, and they stuck him on Patmos to get rid of him. But God had a plan for him while he was there. On the Lord's day, a loud voice, like a trumpet, told him to write down what he saw on a scroll and send it to the churches. The voice that was talking to him was Jesus, and Jesus was about to show John things that would happen in the future, including heaven.
When Jesus showed John heaven, he showed him a holy city coming down out of the sky from God. The voice of God said that in heaven God will live with men, and they will be his people, and he will be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. Everything will be new.
Then John saw the place where the people who love Jesus will go: the city will shine with the glory of God. It has a great high wall, and it is decorated with precious stones: sapphire, emerald, topaz, and others. There are twelve gates, three on each side, and each gate is made of a giant pearl. The city is going to be huge, bigger than Ohio, so big it would take an entire day and night to drive across it at 60 miles/hour without stopping. The great street of the city is of pure gold, clear like glass. It doesn't need a temple or a church, because God himself lives there. It doesn't need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because God is the light. The gates will always be open, because it will never be night: just like you don't lock your house up in the daytime, the city won't need to be closed up, because it will always be day. A river of clear water flows from the throne of God down the middle of the great street of the city, and the tree of life (from the garden of Eden) grows beside the river.
Invitation: Getting to Heaven
Who gets to go to heaven? Do people who don't believe in Jesus get to go? (No.) The only people who get to enter heaven are the ones whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life. Everyone else goes to the fiery lake of burning sulfer to be alone without God (or anyone else) forever. So, who gets to go to heaven? Whose name is written in the Lamb's book of life?
The people who love Jesus, who look forward to his coming, the people who live for Jesus, who run the race of life for him, those are the people whose name is written in the book of life, and those are the people who will go to heaven to be with Jesus forever. If you would like to find out how to get your name written in the book of life, stay after the lesson and talk with the teacher or [one of these other counsellors] about how to make Jesus your Lord and Savior.

Running the Race: Focus on What Matters

Thursday:Running the Race: Focus on What Matters
Story Passage: Matthew 19:16-30
Other Passages: Hebrews 12:1-3, Philippians 3:8, Mark 10:17-31, Luke 18:18-30
Objective: We need to be dedicated to God, not to other things.
Memory Verse: Matthew 19:29, And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.
Introduction: Marathon
Who knows what a Marathon is? (A very long race: twenty-six miles long.) That's as far as from here to the mall in Ontario and back. If you were running that race, would you want to carry lots of things with you? A backpack? Shopping bags? Library books? You'd finish the race better if you left those things behind, because those things aren't important for your race.
In the race of life, there are some things that aren't important, things we can leave behind, so that we can do our best job running for Jesus.
Story: The Rich Young Man
In the book of Matthew, a young man came to ask Jesus a question. The young man was very rich. He had great wealth, and it was important to him. He probably would have had servants and a lot of stuff. The question he came to ask Jesus was, What do I have to do to get eternal life?
Now, he wasn't asking Jesus how to be saved. He was asking what he needed to do. He didn't understand that it's not anything you do that saves you; it's what you believe, and what's important to you. But he had a problem: his money was more important to him. So Jesus told him, Go, sell your stuff, and give the money to poor people, and come and follow me. Jesus knew that he needed to make God more important in his life than money. What do you suppose the young man did?
He went away, sad, because he couldn't do it. His money was too important to him, and he couldn't give it up, even for eternal life.
Transition: Things That Entangle
The rich young man's money had him trapped. He was trying to run the race, and he wanted to win the prize, but he was carrying all that stuff, and he wasn't getting where he needed to go. The rich young man needed to understand that he couldn't take all that stuff with him. The problem wasn't that he had money; the problem was that he couldn't make God more important, because he didn't just have the money. The money had him. He was living his life for the wrong things.
Application: What Matters for Eternity
Today, a lot of people want to follow God, but they have things in their life that slow them down on their race and keep them from getting to the goal. Some people really like sports, and that's fine, but if you never get to church because you're always playing sports, then you've made sports more important than God, and that's wrong. Some people really like computer games, and computer games aren't bad (at least, most computer games aren't bad), but if you're too busy playing computer games to share Jesus with your friends or go to church or read your Bible, then the computer games are more important to you than God. They're weighing you down, holding you back, keeping you from running your race.
The Bible says in Hebrews 12 that we need to throw off those things that hold us back and get in the way, throw them off, so that we can run the race set out for us. It says we should fix our eyes on Jesus, because he's like the finish line, and when the race seems to be getting long, if you think about Jesus, it'll help you to make it to the end.
Invitation: Throw it Off
If any of you are asking the same question as the rich young man – you want to know how to get into the race, to get the prize of eternal life and spend forever in heaven with God, you can stay after the lesson and talk to the teacher or [one of these other counsellors] about it.

Running the Race: God's Word

Wednesday:Running the Race: God's Word
Story Passages: 2nd Kings 22-23, 2nd Chronicles 34
Other Passages: 1st Corinthians 9:23-27, 1st Timothy 4:7-10, 2nd Timothy 3:16-4:8
Objective: The Bible is God's word; we should study it and apply it to our lives.
Memory Verse: 1st Thessalonians 2:13, When you received the word of God... you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.
Introduction: The Bible
How many of you have a Bible? [Show of hands.] How many of you at least know where you can find a Bible? [Show of hands.] How many of you know someone who has a Bible? [Show of hands.] Would you believe, that there was a time in Israel when nobody could find a Bible?
Story: Josiah and the Book
There was a King in Israel named Josiah. Josiah's father, the king before him, was a bad man, and the people had not been worshipping God. They were worshipping pretend gods, idols. When Josiah was king, he changed that. Josiah wanted to bring the people back to God. He spent a lot of money – his own money, and money that he collected from the people – getting the temple fixed up, so that they could worship God.
While the temple was being fixed up, a man named Hilkiah found a book in the temple. It was probably pretty dirty. It had been lost for a long time. He sent it to King Josiah. Do you know what book it was? It was the book of the law, the first five books of the Bible. Who can name the first five books of the Bible? [Let the children answer.] Those are the books written down by Moses, and those are the books that had been lost, and they found them when they cleaned up the temple.
Josiah was excited, but when they read the books, Josiah was upset. Why do you suppose Josiah was upset? He was upset, because the people had not been following what was written in the Bible books that they found. While the books were lost, the people had forgotten what they said. Josiah wanted to get the people to follow God, but he had a big job, because they'd forgotten everything, because they weren't reading God's word.
One of the things Josiah had to do was to get rid of all the idols and pretend gods. They were everywhere in Israel, and the Bible said that the people must only worship God, so Josiah had to get rid of all the evil idols. He did a good job, and God said that Josiah was a good king.
Transition: Training
Josiah had to do hard work, to retrain the people to follow God. They had to read the book of God's word that they found and study it, so that they would know what to do. We are supposed to study God's word too, to know what we are supposed to do. 1st Corinthians 9:25 says that everyone who runs in a race goes into strict training. Racers can't eat just any food they want to eat. They have to eat healthy food, so that their bodies can run fast. They can't sit around and watch television all day, because they have to keep their body exercised. We have training too, for the race of life.
Application: God's Word
Studying the word of God is like eating healthy food: it prepares you to run a good race. Just like runners wouldn't eat cookies all the time, we can't waste all of our time on whatever we want – playing video games, going to the mall, ... those things are okay, but we have to keep some time set aside to study the Bible, to train, so that we can run a good race. You can't win the prize if you're not in good shape.
Invitation: Winning the Prize
[Invite the children to stay after the lesson to learn how to win the prize.]

Running the Race: Faithfulness

Tuesday:Running the Race: Faithfulness
Story Passage: Daniel 6
Other Passages: Philippians 3:12-16
Objective: God expects faithfulness.
Memory Verse: 1st Corinthians 15:58, Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Introduction: Pressing on Toward the Goal
Who remembers our theme for the week? [Running the Race] In Philippians 3, the Apostle Paul writes that he is not perfect but says, One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. How did Paul expect to win that prize? By sitting around? (No, by running the race.)
Story: Daniel and the Satraps
In the Bible there was a man named Daniel. Daniel was so reliable, and King Darius trusted him so much, that he made him an administrator. It was Daniel's job to watch over the satraps who ruled the people and make sure the satraps were doing their job right and not cheating the King. What do you suppose the satraps thought of that? (They didn't like it.) Do you think they liked Daniel? (No.) The satraps wanted to get rid of Daniel. So they started looking for excuses to have the King get rid of him. They figured, if they could catch Daniel cheating the King, then the King would get rid of Daniel. Do you think they caught Daniel cheating the King? (No.) Daniel was too honest for that. Daniel wasn't getting into any trouble, so the satraps decided to make their own trouble for him. How do you suppose they did that?
The satraps knew that Daniel prayed to God three times every day. So, the satraps went to the King and said, “We think you should make a law that anyone who prays to any god or man except to you, King, will be thrown to the lions.” What do you suppose Daniel did when the King made that law? He prayed to God three times a day, just like before.
Transition: Hard Choices
Has anyone ever threatened to throw you to the lions if you follow God? Can they do that in this country? (No.) So, it ought to be easy to follow God here, right? (Not always.) What are some things people do sometimes, that make it hard for you to follow God? [Accept some answers from the children, or give some examples.] It isn't always easy to follow God, even if there are no lions.
Application: Faithfulness
Paul said, I press on toward the goal to win the prize. What was he talking about? (Following God.) Was it always easy? (No.) Sometimes Paul had to preach about Jesus to people who didn't want to hear it. Sometimes they threw him in jail. Did that stop him? (No.) Paul kept on doing what he knew God wanted him to do, even when it was hard and he was tired. What are some things God wants you to do, that aren't always easy? [Accept some answers from the children.]
Postscript: The Lions' Den
What happened to Daniel, when he kept praying to God? (They threw him to the lions.) God protected Daniel. He shut the lions' mouths, and in the morning the King let Daniel out of the lions' den, safe and sound. But Daniel was so faithful, he would have kept praying to God even if it meant the lions would tear him to pieces. Serving God was more important to Daniel than anything.
Invitation: Living Faithfully
[Invite the children to stay after the lesson if they want to learn how to be faithful to God.]

Running the Race: Lordship

Monday:Running the Race: Lordship
Story Passages: 1st Samuel 24, 1st Samuel 26, 2nd Samuel 1:1-16
Other Passages: 2nd Timothy 2:3-5, 1st Samuel 10:1, 1st Samuel 16
Objective: Jesus should be Lord and Master of our lives.
Memory Verse: 1st John 2:3, We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.
Introduction: Athletes and Soldiers
How many of you have ever run in a race? What do you call someone who runs in races or plays other sports? An athlete. What do you get when you win a race? (A prize.) Do you get to keep the prize if you cheat? (No.) If you don't follow the rules, you are disqualified, and you can't win. Who else has to follow strict rules? What about soldiers? Can a soldier go anywhere he wants, whenever he wants? Can he go home and visit his family any time he wants? (No.) He has to go wherever his commanding officer tells him to go. [Read 2nd Timothy 2:3-5]
Transition: Following God
The Bible says that Christians are like athletes, running a race. If we believe in Jesus, we are supposed to follow what he says. Those are our rules. When we do whatever Jesus says, we make him the Lord and Master of our lives. In the Bible, David was a man after God's own heart, and he made God the Lord of his life. David followed God, even when it was hard.
Story: The Lord's Annointed
Saul was the king when David was a young man, but Saul the king didn't like David. Saul was afraid David would take his kingdom away from him. The prophet Samuel had annointed David, just like he'd annointed Saul before, so that after Saul, David would be the next king. It was a sure thing, but Saul kept chasing after David with armies, trying to kill him. Saul was afraid that David would try to kill him, so that David could be king. But David wouldn't do that, because God had chosen Saul and annointed him, and David knew that God wouldn't want anyone to kill Saul.
One time, Saul and his army were chasing David, and David and his men hid in the back of a cave. Saul didn't see them go into the cave, but Saul had to go. You know. He had to go. So when he got to the cave, guess where he decided to go? He was a long way from the bathroom, so he went into the cave. It was dark in the cave, and Saul didn't see David. David's friend wanted David to kill Saul, but David wouldn't do it. He took his sword, and just cut off a piece of Saul's robe. After Saul finished in the cave and went out and was leaving, David and his men went out, and David yelled to Saul, Look at this piece of your robe! I could have killed you, but I didn't, because you are the Lord's anointed. Saul was ashamed and left David alone for a while and went home.
Another time, some time later, Saul and his army were out chasing David again, and they camped for the night, and fell asleep. David and one of his men snuck into the camp, and they could have killed Saul, but David wouldn't. They only took the spear and water jug that were next to Saul's head, and left the camp. From across the way, on the top of a hill, they called down to the army that was with Saul. You didn't do a very good job of guarding your king! Look, where are the water jug and spear that were by his head? Right here! We could have killed him, but I wouldn't do that, because Saul is the Lord's anointed. Again, Saul was ashamed and left David alone for a while and went home.
David would not kill Saul, his enemy, because God had chosen Saul, and David obeyed God, his Lord and Master. David was a man after God's own heart. David said that God would take care of Saul.
Application: Lordship
What have we learned from David? [Accept some answers from the children.] David let God be in charge. The Bible says that we need to let God be in charge, too. If you were running in a race, you would have to follow the rules set up by the people who organized the race. In life, you follow the rules God gave us, because he is the one who organized the whole world.
Invitation: Lordship
[Invite children to stay after the lesson and discuss further if they want to make Jesus the Lord of their lives.]

Posting up some existing materials out of order.

While we're waiting for the Following the Footsteps memory verse lessons to be approved, I'm going to go ahead and post up some of the existing materials for the two themes that aren't online yet (Running the Race and Back to the Beginning), starting with the Bible lessons for the elementary age group. These were already completed, and approved by our Pastor (Russ Simpson at the time), back when we used them in Galion (in 2005 and 2006), so they're basically ready to go; I just hadn't gotten around to posting them here until now. So I'm going to start doing that in the next few days. Watch this space.