Week 4 objective: to discover that God is abounding in love - his love goes on and on; it will never run out. God loves everybody.
Game - 7 mins
Aims: to play a game that will help the children think about the vast number of people in the world before thinking about God loving everybody.
You will need: different coloured small Post-it notes (heart-shaped Post-it notes would be ideal) and three or four copies of the same issue of ‘First News’ (a weekly newspaper for young people - if you can't get hold of ‘First News’ use a local newspaper but check it's content before giving copies to the children).
Depending on the size of your group divide the children into two or three teams. Give each team a newspaper and a set of Post-it notes. It will work well if each team’s set of Post-it notes is a different colour. In their teams they need to look through the newspaper and place a Post-it note on each picture of a person that they see. If there is a picture of a crowd of people they should stick three Post-it notes to the picture. Tell the children that they need to work through their newspaper as quickly as possible and the first team to place a Post-it note on every person in their paper is the winning team. If you have limited time remove some of the pages of the newspaper before you begin the game. When the teams are ready and understand the object of the game, shout ‘go’.
As soon as the first team has completed the challenge, shout ‘stop’ and the other team/s should stop. Flick back through the newspapers commenting on the number of people in the photographs, their ages etc.
Talk about - 6 mins
You will need: a large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, marker pens and a Bible.
Before the session write the verse on the large sheet of paper or the whiteboard.
Underline the word ‘compassionate’ and remind the children that last week we learnt that the Bible teaches that God is compassionate - he knows when people are suffering and he wants to do something about their pain and sadness. In fact the Bible teaches that God longs to help and comfort people who are sad or living troubled lives. Underline the word ‘gracious’. Explain that the best way to describe the word ‘gracious’ is to describe what God is like. God is mighty, strong and powerful, yet he is interested in everything we do, even the little things. He is always kind towards us and does wonderful things in our lives.
Underline the phrase the ‘Lord is slow to anger’. Explain that some people think that God is cross and angry all the time but that is definitely not true. The Bible teaches that God is on people's side; he is patient and kind, he loves people and thinks they are great. Sometimes people do things that make God sad such as lie or hurt one another – these things make God sad because they are bad for people and those around them. The Bible teaches that when a person says sorry for the bad things they have done or the poor choices they have made God is quick to forgive them and will always help them carry on learning and growing to live his way.
Underline the phrase ‘abounding in love’. ‘Abounding’ means that there is a lot of something. When this verse says God is abounding in love, it means that God’s love goes on and on; it will never run out. God loves everybody. There is nobody that God does not love.
Talk about all the different people in the newspapers. There are around seven billion people in the world and there are thousands of babies born every day and God loves every single person. Christians believe there is nothing anybody can do to stop God loving them and there is nothing they can do to make God love them more - he already loves them more than they could ever imagine. God is abounding in love.
As this is the last week cover up the Bible verse and ask the children if anyone can say it from memory. If you have a rubber stamper and tickets, stamp the tickets belonging to children who can say the Bible verse. Include those who needed some help.
Song - 2 mins
To the tune ‘My Bonnie lies over the ocean’
The Lord is compass'nate and gracious,
It says so in Psalm 1, 0, 3,
The Lord is slo-ow to get angry,
His love is abounding to me, to me,
His love is abounding to me.
Encourage the children to make a puppet face with their hands (see Printables). As they say or sing the verse they should move their thumb to make it look as if the puppet is speaking.