338 - God's Spirit comes (Sewing flames)

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Acts 1-2.
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 384

Notes
Take time to explain that part of today’s story is about shapes that looked like flames. Clarify that the flame shapes in the story were safe; they were not hot and didn’t hurt anybody. Briefly talk about where the children might see flames. Use this opportunity to remind the children that they must not play near fires and never touch matches or lighted candles.

1. Setting the scene  - 2 mins 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about ‘The Early Church FlashCards’ card one 

2. Starter question - 1 min  
‘Bonjour!’ ‘Guten Tag!’ ‘Ciao!’ ‘Hola!’ These are just some of the ways people say hello to each other around the world. Did you know that there are over 2,000 different languages in the world? That would mean you would have to learn over 2,000 words to be able to greet everybody in their own language.

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Click on the images at the beginning of this post for more resources from the web.

  • Pictures of a field of wheat from a library book or the internet (beware of copyright regulations)

  • Tongues of fire (see Printables)

  • Holy Spirit arrow (see Printables)

  • ‘Whatever can have happened to them?’ speech bubble (see Printables)

4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1- Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - You will need small red, yellow and orange balloons, a couple of woollen jumpers/blankets and a bin bag. Before the session blow up the balloons. Store the balloons in the bin bag away from the children.

During the session show the children how to make the balloons static by rubbing them against a woollen jumper/blanket or against their hair. Encourage the children to see if they can get the static balloons to ‘settle’ on them for a while before they drift to the floor. If the balloons won’t stick to the children’s clothing encourage them to try sticking them to the wall or other pieces of furniture.

Explain that we don’t entirely know what the flame shapes looked like as they settled on the disciples – some people think they rested on their heads while other people think they surrounded the disciples.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God, we thank you that when Jesus went up, the Holy Spirit came down. Father thank you that you did not leave the disciples on their own but sent your Spirit to be with them in a powerful and amazing way.

Thank you that in the same way your Holy Spirit was with the disciples he can be with us today. Thank you that just as the disciples received the Spirit’s gifts and were changed from the inside out we too can be changed by the power of the Holy Spirit as we learn and grow to live the way you created us to live. Amen.



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338 - God's Spirit comes (Blow-paint flames)

 
 

15 minute Story planner

 Reference 
Acts 1-2
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 384

1. Setting the scene - 2 mins 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about ‘The Early Church FlashCards’ card one

2. Starter question - 1 min
 
Which of these words would you use to describe the sound of a jet plane? Roaring… banging… booming… zooming… whooshing… thundering… screeching… blasting? Did you know that the sound of a jet plane is one of the loudest sounds ever made? Would you use the same words to describe the noise of a rushing wind?

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Click on the images at the beginning of this post for Bible-images from the web.

  • Pictures of a field of wheat from a library book or the internet (beware of copyright regulations)
  • Tongues of fire (see Printables)
  • Holy Spirit arrow (see Printables)
  • ‘Whatever can have happened to them?’ speech bubble (see Printables)

Clarify that the flame shapes in the story were safe; they were not hot and didn’t hurt anybody.  Remind the children that they must not play near fires and never touch matches or lit candles.

4. Story Activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - In the bag
You will need: A bag that the children cannot see through, post-it notes, a French-English dictionary, a towel or tablecloth and four or five small items such as a pen, a cup, a phone, a hat and a sock.

1. Write the names of the items in French on the post-it notes and stick them to the relevant items.
2. Place the items on the floor or table in front of the children. Tell the children what the items are called in French.
3. Ask the children to repeat the French names back to you.
4. Cover the items with the towel then place one item in the bag. Keep the bag under the towel while you place the item in it.
5. Remove the towel and ask the children to tell you in French the name of the item in your bag. Help the children by saying the first letter of the word if they are struggling to remember it. 

Option 3 - If you would prefer, put together a PowerPoint presentation – paste a selection of pictures on to a slide with the French name for the items alongside. On the second slide paste all the same pictures except for one. The children need to tell you in French which item is missing. Beware of copyright regulations when using pictures from the internet. 

Option 4 - Invite somebody from your congregation to speak about a time when they felt guided and/or helped by the Holy Spirit. Make sure the arrangements for inviting a guest to your setting complies with your church’s policies and procedures. 

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God we picture the disciples praying and praying as they waited for your Holy Spirit to come. We imagine the tremendous noise, like a rushing wind, as your Spirit arrived.

Father God, we thank you for your wonderful Holy Spirit. Thank you that your Holy Spirit comforts, teaches and guides. 

Father we thank you that the Holy Spirit changes us from the inside out. We thank you that, with the powerful help of the Holy Spirit, people all over the world are learning and growing to live the way you created them to live - to be more like Jesus, more peaceful, patient and kind.  Amen 



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338 - God's Spirit comes (Pentecost Streamers)

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Acts 1-2.
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 384
‘The Day of Pentecost’ (see Printables)

1. Setting the scene  - 2 mins 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about ‘The Early Church FlashCards’ card one 

2. Starter question - 1 min  
Can you work out how many days there are in seven weeks? Is your answer forty-nine?

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Click on the images at the beginning of this post for more resources from the web.

  • A calendar

  • Pentecost/Pentekostos sign (see Printables)

  • ‘Three in One’ symbol (see Printables)

  • Dividing flame shapes (see Printables)

  • A children’s French/English dictionary or alternative

Clarify that the flame shapes in the story were safe; they were not hot and didn’t hurt anybody.  Remind the children that they must not play near fires and never touch matches or lit candles.

4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1- Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Make an upper room with darting flames
You will need: a cardboard box, toy figures, small flame shapes (see Printables), drinking straws, sticky tape, colouring pencils, scissors, a tea towel and cotton thread.

1. Colour in and cut out the small flames. Cut the cotton thread into 25 cm lengths. Use the sticky tape to stick flames to both ends of the cotton thread. Wrap the central part of the thread around a drinking     straw so that the flames hang down and move about freely.

 
IMG_20170226_112413519.jpg
 

2.  Make an ‘upper-room’ by placing the cardboard box on its side and arranging a folded tea towel on the     ‘floor’. Stand the figures on the tea towel. Pass the straws through the holes in the side of the box so the flames are hanging down inside the room. Encourage the children to make the flames dart around     and rest on the figures.

 
dancing flames 2.png
 

Tell the story using the toy figures. At the appropriate point make the flames dart around encouraging the children to add their own sound effects.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God, we imagine the noise of the wind rushing through the house where the disciples were praying. We picture the flame-shapes darting across the room and heading for each of the disciples. Father we imagine the disciples' joy as they realised the gift they had been waiting for had arrived.

Father God, we thank You that when Jesus went up, the Holy Spirit came down. Father thank You that You did not leave the disciples on their own but sent Your Spirit to be with them in a powerful and amazing way. 

Thank you that in the same way Your Holy Spirit was with the disciples He can be with us today. Thank You that just as the disciples received the Spirit’s gifts and were changed from the inside out we too can be changed by the power of the Holy Spirit as we learn and grow to live the way You created us to live.  Amen.



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339 - Jesus is Lord (‘Church is the people’ craft)

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Acts 2
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 384

Notes
Before reading today’s story recap the story read to the children last week. Talk briefly about the day of Pentecost. Remind the children that around ten days after Jesus went up to Heaven, the Holy Spirit came down to be with people in a powerful way. The Holy Spirit filled the disciples and started to change them from the inside out. The disciples discovered they could do things they couldn’t do before – the Holy Spirit gave them the ability to speak in different languages so the people around could hear the Good News in their own language.

After reading the story, briefly remind the children that we call groups of Christians that gather together ‘churches’. Many times we think the church is the building but it is in fact the people that gather together. This is something we have looked at previously as we’ve explored the Christian Topic: ‘The Church’. 


1. Setting the scene  - 2 mins 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about ‘The Early Church FlashCards’ cards one and two

2. Starter question - 1 min
What do you do when you get together with your friends? Play games, chat, watch TV?

Every week all over the world groups of Christians get together – we call these groups of Christians ‘churches’. If you wrote down everything Christians do when they gather together you would probably have a long list. However when the first Christians met there were just four things they did over and over again: they prayed together, listened together, had fellowship together and broke bread together.

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Click on the images at the beginning of this post to download more web resources

  • Holy Spirit arrow (see Printables)

  • ‘God has given us his Spirit’ speech bubble (see Printables)

  • ‘Sin’ symbol (see Printables)

  • ‘Turn and trust’ symbol (see Printables)

    As you talk about God's plan you could show the illustrations on pages 281, 376, 379 and 385 of The Children's Bible in 365 Stories. 


4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - A game about four things.
You will need:‘Theme textboxes’ (see Printables).

Encourage the children to get into pairs, or if you have a large group, into teams of four. Give each group a ‘theme textbox’. Ask the children not to show the other groups their textbox. Explain that during the challenge each group will act out four ‘doing words’ relating to their theme. For example if the theme is ‘things to do on holiday’ – the group might choose to act out swimming, sunbathing, sightseeing and travelling. Give the children a few moments to practise before asking the first group to perform their actions. The other children should try and guess what the performers are doing. You may want to reveal the theme to the audience – however encourage an older group to try and guess the theme as well as the individual actions.

Finally ask the children what actions they might perform had their theme been ‘four things Christians do when they meet toether’. Listen to the children’s answers and respond positively. Remind the children that the four things the early Christians did when they gathered together were ‘pray together’, ‘listen together’, ‘have fellowship together’ and ‘break bread together’.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God, we think about the Early Church. We think about the group of Christians growing bigger and bigger as more and more people said ‘Yes’ to your love and forgiveness.

Father we remember that the first Christians did four things over and over again as they met together: they ‘prayed together’, ‘listened together’, ‘had fellowship together’ and ‘broke bread together’. Father help us to remember these important things when we gather together with our Christian friends. Help us to remember that the reason we meet together is to worship you and help each other live your way. Amen.


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339 - Jesus is Lord (Tear ‘n’ share bread)

 
 

15 minutes Story planner

Reference 
Acts 2
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 384
‘The believers share everything’ see Printables

Notes 
As you talk about God's plan you could show the illustrations on pages 281, 376, 379 and 385 of The Children's Bible in 365 Stories.  When talking about the believers ‘breaking bread’ you may find it helpful to briefly talk about the celebration of Communion using language familiar to the children in your setting. 

1. Setting the scene  - 2 mins 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about ‘The Early Church FlashCards’ cards one and two

2. Starter question - 1 min
 
Do you have a library near where you live? Some big cities have enormous libraries, while a small village might not have a library at all – instead a van full of books stops at the village once or twice a month. But did you know that some places have toy libraries? How do you think a toy library might work?  Whom do the toys belong to?

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Click on the images at the beginning of this post to download more web resources

  • A library book or DVD
  • Early church calendar (see Printables)
  • ‘Four things’ text boxes (see Printables)
  • A small bag of coins

4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - An activity about sharing
Beware of allergies – make sure it is safe for the children in your group to handle or taste the food used in this activity.
You will need: a large bag of sweets, a dice, small envelopes, a pen, two bowls and a teaspoon.

1. Tell the story using the props listed above then play a sharing game.  
2.  Ask the children to sit in a circle.
3. Empty the bag of sweets into one of the bowls. Place the bowl of sweets and the empty bowl in the middle of the circle.
4. Encourage the children to take turns throwing the dice. If a child throws an odd number ask them to use the teaspoon to place one sweet in the empty bowl, if they throw an even number they should place two sweets in the bowl, and if they throw a six they should place three sweets in the bowl.
5. Keep passing the dice around and adding sweets to the bowl until all the children have had one or two goes.  
6. Ask the children if they can remember how many sweets they personally added to the bowl. Ask the children how they think the sweets should be divided among the children present. Remind the children that the new believers shared everything.
7. Write the children’s names on the envelopes and divide the sweets equally between them. If you don’t have enough sweets in the bowl for everyone to have the same amount add some extra sweets. Put the envelopes containing the sweets to one side until the end of the session.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God, we think about the early Christians meeting together. We think about the wonderful way they shared their belongings and gave their money to those who needed it most. 

Father we remember that as the believers longed to live Your way, the Holy Spirit worked in each one of them, guiding and changing them from the inside out to be more peaceful, patient and kind. 

Father thank You that the gift of the Holy Spirit wasn't just for the disciples in Bible times, but we too can be filled with Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that the Holy Spirit can work in our lives, changing us from the inside out to be more peaceful, patient and kind. Father we ask that in the same way the Holy Spirit was with the early Christians He is with us too, guiding us and changing us to be more like Jesus, and helping us to live the way You created us to live.  Amen. 

With younger children, or during a shorter session you may wish to select just one or two phrases from the reflective prayer.


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339 - Jesus is Lord (‘Jesus is Lord’ wooden-mobile)

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Acts 2
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 384

Notes 
As you talk about God's plan you could show the illustrations on pages 281, 376, 379 and 385 of The Children's Bible in 365 Stories. 

1. Setting the scene  - 2 mins 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about ‘The Early Church FlashCards’ cards one and two

2. Starter question - 1 min
 
What are you planning to do this afternoon? Can you think of things that need to be planned? How about a party? Or a holiday? Or how about planning what to do when a friend comes to stay? 

Did you know that right at the beginning of time God made a plan? God has had a plan ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed him in the garden. His plan was to make a way for people to become close friends with him again. All the way through time God’s plan has been unfolding: he sent his Son to the earth (this was all part of God’s wonderful plan); Jesus died on the cross (still part of God’s plan); God raised Jesus back to life (all part of God’s plan); Jesus went up to Heaven (still part of God’s plan); the Holy Spirit came down (all part of God’s big plan). 

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Click on the images at the beginning of this post to download more web resources

  • The Holy Spirit arrow (see Printables)
  • ‘Jesus came to make a way’ infographic  (see Printables)
  • ‘God has given us his Spirit’ speech bubble (see Printables)
  • ‘Sin’ infographic  (see Printables)
  • “Saying ‘Yes’ to God's love and forgiveness” infographic (see Printables) 


4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Help the children to imagine how big a crowd of 3,000  would be.
You will need: ‘3,000 people’ (see Printables), pens and a calculator.

 
 

Before the session print off three or four copies of the ‘3,000 people’ on a page.  Find out how many pupils attend the local schools and how many people attend your church. 

1. Show the children a copy of the ‘3,000 people’ print out. On the paper draw a circle around the approximate number of people that attend the local school.
2. On another copy draw around the approximate number of people that attend your church.
3. If the children in your group are interested in sport, find out how many people the nearest stadium seats; photocopy or print off a sufficient number of pages of ‘3,000 people’ to represent how many could attend an event held at the stadium. 

Option 3 - For older children ask the following questions and help them work out the answers:
1. If there are 52 seats on one coach, how many coaches would you need to take 3,000 people on a journey? (Answer: you would need 57 coaches to take a crowd of 3,000 people on a journey)
2. If Peter had spoken to one person a day from the crowd of 3,000 – how many years would it take him to speak to everyone? (Answer: just over 8 years) 

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father we think about the day your Holy Spirit came to be with people in a new way. We picture the crowd pushing forwards to see the disciples. We imagine Peter standing up and then the silence as the onlookers strained to hear what he said. We remember Peter’s words: ‘God has given us his Spirit’.

Father we thank you that because Jesus lived, died and rose again everybody everywhere can now say ‘Yes’ to your love and forgiveness and become close friends with you. We thank you that when Jesus went up you did not leave the disciples on their own, but sent your Spirit to be with them in a powerful and amazing way. 

Father we thank you that the Holy Spirit is with us today comforting, teaching and guiding us. Thank you that just as the disciples received the Spirit’s gifts and were changed from the inside out, we too can be changed by the power of your Holy Spirit. With the powerful help of the Holy Spirit we too can learn and grow to live your way, the way you created us to live.  Amen. 

With younger children, or during a shorter session you may wish to select just one or two phrases from the reflective prayer.



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343 - The African Official

 
 

15 minutes Story planner

Reference 
Acts 8
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 389
‘Philip and the Ethiopian Treasurer’ (see Printables)

1. Setting the scene - 2 mins 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about ‘The Early Church FlashCards’ cards one to three

2. Starter question - 1 min
How much money do you think kings and queens have? Perhaps enough to fill a big treasure chest. More? Enough to fill fifty treasure chests? 

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Click on the images at the beginning of this post to download more web resources

  • A jar of coins, a crown 
  • A picture of a chariot
  • A map of the Holy Land at the time of Jesus with Jerusalem marked 
  • A scroll – a rolled up piece of paper 
  • A bowl of water

4. Story Activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - A cardboard chariot race
You will need: a timer, a cardboard box, scissors, a strong strip of fabric at least three meters in length, ‘story textboxes’ (see Printables), sticky tape and 6  two litre bottles filled with water.

1. Before the session print and cut out the 'story textboxes'.
2. Stick one to each bottle.
3. Make the box into a chariot by cutting two holes in the front then threading the strip of fabric through to make reins.
4. Use the bottles to make an assault course, placing them around the room but leaving enough space for the chariot to weave in and out. 
5. Explain that you will need two volunteers; one child will be ‘the horse’, the other the ‘chariot owner’ who will run behind the chariot. The horse needs to pull the chariot from ‘Jerusalem’ (one side of the room) to ‘Gaza’ (the other side of the room) but they need to weave around the assault course.
6. As the horse pulls the chariot passed a bottle, the chariot owner should pick up the bottle and put it into the chariot.
7. When the chariot reaches ‘Gaza’ encourage the children to read the story textboxes and put the bottles in the right order.
8. Time each group completing the task and encourage them to try and beat each others’ times. If you have a lot of children introduce a second ‘horse’.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God, we imagine the Ethiopian Treasurer travelling along the road in his fine chariot. We think of him pouring over the Scriptures trying to make sense of what he reads. Thank You that on that day the Holy Spirit worked through Philip to explain what the passage meant. 

Father we remember that reading the Scriptures is an important part of finding out about You, discovering more about Your great love and learning how You want us to live. Father we know that understanding some parts of the Bible can be difficult. Father we ask that when we struggle with complicated passages You help us to understand their meaning. Please show us how our lives can be changed as we learn and grow to live the way the Bible teaches us to live.  Amen  

With younger children, or during a shorter session you may wish to select just one or two phrases from the reflective prayer.


 

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344 - Journey to Damascus (Sparkly Battery-candle holder)

 
 

15 minutes Story planner

Reference 
Acts 9
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 390
 ‘Saul and the letters’ see Printables.

Notes
Briefly explain who the Pharisees were – there is a good explanation on page 306 of The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories.

1. Setting the scene - 2 mins 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about ‘The Early Church FlashCards’ cards one to four

2. Starter question - 1 min
Have you ever stepped outside on a sunny day and squinted at the bright sunlight? Now imagine if that light was so bright that it became impossible to see anything. 

Hundreds of years ago, as a man walked towards the city of Damascus, a bright light flashed around him. The man fell to the ground stunned…

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Click on the images at the beginning of this post to download more web resources

  • A map of the Holy Land at the time of Jesus with Jerusalem and Damascus clearly marked
  • The High Priest's letter (see Printables)
  • An envelope with ‘The Leader of the Synagogue, Damascus’ written on it
  • A torch

4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Discover where Paul's letters are in the  Bible
You will need: masking tape and about 20 envelopes, used ones will be fine.

1. Stick two strips of masking tape to the floor about three metres apart – these will be your ‘start’ and ‘finish’ lines.
2.  Divide your group into two teams and divide the envelopes between them.
3. Explain to the children that the ‘start line’ represents the city of Jerusalem and the ‘finish line’ represents Damascus. The aim of the game is for the teams to get all their letters from ‘Jerusalem’ to ‘Damascus’, then back again. However, the children can only transport the letters by pretending to be donkeys.
4. Encourage each team to nominate one member to be the first donkey and to place an envelope on the donkey's back.
5. The donkey must now walk on all fours from ‘Jerusalem’ to ‘Damascus’. If a letter falls off their back a team member can replace it.
6. When the donkey arrives in Damascus they should tip the letter onto the floor.
7. The next donkey can now set off – however this donkey should carry two letters instead of one.
8. When the second donkey's mail has been delivered the next donkey can set off, this time with three letters and so on.
9.The last donkey in each team should set off for Damascus without any letters.
10. When the  last donkeys arrive all the letters should be placed on their backs and they should slowly return to Jerusalem. The other team members can walk alongside replacing any letters that fall off.
11. The first team to arrive back in Jerusalem with all their letters is the winning team.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God we imagine Saul setting off for Damascus, carrying the letter for the Leader of the Synagogue. Father we understand that although you did not like the mean and unkind things Saul did, you always loved him and had wonderful plans for his life.  Father God, we thank you that you love each of us us more than we can imagine. We thank you that there is nothing we can do that will make you love us more and there is nothing we can do that will make you love us less. 

Father we think about the bright light that flashed around on the road to Damascus. We remember that Jesus called Saul’s name as he lay on the floor. Father we thank you that you spoke to Saul in a great and powerful way that day. Father we thank you that you still speak to people today. Thank you that you speak in many different ways. Father please help us to listen carefully as you teach, guide and show us how to live your way, the way you created us to live. Amen.

With younger children, or during a shorter session you may wish to select just one or two phrases from the reflective prayer.


 
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344 & 345 - Journey to Damascus & A changed man (Light catcher bread biscuits)

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Acts 9
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 390 & 391

Notes
The author of The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories thinks Saul may have been ‘haunted’ by what happened to Stephen. You might want to remind older children about the story of Stephen (p 388 of The Children’s Bible). Look at Acts 22:20 to find out what Saul was doing while Stephen was being badly treated.

1. Setting the scene - 2 mins
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about ‘The Early Church FlashCards’ cards one to four

2. Starter question - 1 min
What’s the name of the street you live in? Often roads are named after things close by such as trees, a school or a church – perhaps there is a Holly Tree Lane, a Church Street or School Road near where you live.

One day God told Saul to go into the city of Damascus. Saul went to Straight Street. I wonder why it was called Straight Street…

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Click on the images at the beginning of this post to download more web resources

  • A map of the Holy Land at the time of Jesus with Jerusalem and Damascus clearly marked (beware of copyright regulations)

  • An envelope with ‘The Leader of the Synagogue, Damascus’ written on it

  • The High Priest’s letter (see Printables)

  • A torch


4. Story activity -  6 mins

Option 1 -  Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 -  Tell the story while moving around the room
You will need: three big pieces of paper, a thick pen, masking tape, two chairs, and the props listed above.

Write on the big pieces of paper ‘Jerusalem’, ‘Damascus’ and ‘Straight Street’. With the children’s help stick a long piece of masking tape to the floor along the length of your room. Encourage a child to stand at one end of the tape holding the ‘Jerusalem’ sign, another child to stand at the other end holding the ‘Damascus’ sign and nearby, a third child to stand holding the ‘Straight Street’ sign. Place one chair next to the ‘Straight Street’ sign and another chair next to the ‘Damascus’ sign. Allow the children that are not holding signs to sit either side of the tape, leaving enough room for you to walk up and down. As you tell the story walk along the tape from ‘Jerusalem’ to ‘Damascus’ stopping just before ‘Damascus’ to recount the story of Jesus speaking to Saul. As you talk about Saul waiting three days, sit in the chair next to ‘Straight Street’ and as you talk about God speaking to Ananias, sit in the chair next to the ‘Damascus’ sign.


5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  

Father we think about Saul carrying the letters to Damascus. We know that at that time he was planning to do mean and unkind things to the Christians. However, only a few days later he was preaching about Jesus in the synagogues. Father we thank you for the amazing change that took place in Saul’s life.

We thank you for the boldness of Ananias who visited Saul and prayed that he would be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Father thank you that, in the same way the Holy Spirit was at work in the life of Saul, he is at work in the lives of Christians today. Thank you that your Holy Spirit is both a helper and a guide to Believers, and all over the world he is changing Christians from the inside out to be more like Jesus, more peaceful, patient and kind. Father help us to long for more of your work in our lives – help us to learn and grow to be the people you created us to be. Amen.

With younger children, or during a shorter session you may wish to select just one or two phrases from the reflective prayer.


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344 - Journey to Damascus (Shiny Bunting)

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Acts 9
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 390

1. Setting the scene - 2 mins
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about ‘The Early Church FlashCards’ cards one to four

2. Starter question - 1 min
Did you know that millions of letters are posted  every day? All around the country thousands of men and women work hard, not just to deliver letters, but to sort them too. Overnight many letters are taken to sorting offices where they are organised into bundles. The next morning the letters are pushed through the letterboxes of houses, schools, offices and shops.

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Click on the images at the beginning of this post to download more web resources

  • A map of the Holy Land at the time of Jesus with Jerusalem and Damascus clearly marked
  • The High Priest's letter (see Printables)
  • A torch 
  • Names of Paul’s letters (see Printables)
  • Envelopes (before the session stick on the names of Paul’s letters) 

4. Story activity -  6 mins
Option 1 -  Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 -  Discover where Paul's letters are in the  Bible
You will need enough Bibles for one each or one between two or three children, pens and ‘page number’ slips (see Printables).
Before the session place the ‘page number’ slips in the envelopes with the names of Paul’s letters written on.

1. Tell the story using the props.
2. Ask the children to work in twos or threes to find Paul’s letters in a Bible.
3. Hand out the envelopes containing the slips.
4. Ask the children to write the correct page numbers for the corresponding books on the slips i.e. if ‘Romans’ begins on page 1128 and finishes on page 1143 write p1128–p1143 on the slip of paper and place it in the ‘Romans’ envelope.

Option 3  - Follow the directions
You will need two chairs and a blindfold. Ask for a volunteer. Explain that the volunteer will be wearing a blindfold. Place two chairs at one end of your teaching space, about a meter apart. Tell the children that the chairs represent the gateway into the city of Damascus. Explain that the blindfolded volunteer needs to walk from one end of the room towards the chairs at the other. They then need to manoeuvre through the ‘gateway’ without touching either chair. To help the volunteer one or two of the other children could shout directions. Make sure the volunteer understands what they have to do before they are blindfolded.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father we think of Saul leaving Jerusalem an angry man but arriving in Damascus ready to be changed. Father we remember that when Ananias laid his hands on Saul not only was he able to see once more but he was filled with the Holy Spirit. Father we thank you that with the powerful help of the Holy Spirit Saul went on to do many, many wonderful things for you. 

Thank you Father God that just as the Holy Spirit changed Saul in an amazing way he is able to work in our lives too, comforting, guiding and changing us from the inside out. Thank you that with the powerful help of the Holy Spirit all Christians everywhere are able to learn and grow to live the way you created them to live. Father we understand that although we may never do the amazing things Saul did you have wonderful plans for each of our lives and you love us more than we could ever imagine.  Amen.

With younger children, or during a shorter session you may wish to select just one or two phrases from the reflective prayer.



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345 - A changed man (Upside-down frown)

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Acts 9
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 391

Notes
You could talk to the children a little bit about the city of Damascus. Explain that it is a very, very old city. Show the children where it is first mentioned in the Bible by looking at Genesis 15:2.

1. Setting the scene  - 2 mins 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about ‘The Early Church FlashCards’ cards one to four

2. Starter question - 1 min
How would you find your way around a busy city?  Would you use a map… or maybe a Sat Nav? Perhaps you would ask someone for directions: ‘Turn right, turn left, turn right again, then straight on until you reach the corner’.  But how would you find your way around busy city if you couldn’t see where you were going?

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Click on the images at the beginning of this post to download more web resources

  • A map of the Holy Land at the time of Jesus with Jerusalem and Damascus clearly marked.
  • Pictures from the internet of Straight Street in Damascus – make sure you comply with copyright regulations. 
  • An empty plate and cup
  • ‘Go to Straight Street’ speech bubble (see Printables) 
  • ‘He has become my servant’ speech bubbles (see Printables)
  • Tissue paper cut into two circles approximately the size of a contact lens  –  to represent fish-  scales 
  • A basket (Use any sized basket, but explain that the basket Saul escaped in would have been large and used for carrying heavy things)

4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy colouring in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2  - A guided assault course
You will need lots of cardboard boxes or chairs and something to cover a child’s eyes such as a scarf or eye mask. 

1. Set up an ‘assault course’ in your teaching area using chairs or cardboard boxes. If you have enough boxes stack them on top of each other to make small towers.
2. Ask for two volunteers. Encourage the volunteers to choose which of them will be blindfolded and who will be the guide.
3. Allow the person to be blindfolded, to either carefully tie the scarf around their eyes or to position the eye mask so they cannot see.
4. The guide should then take the arm of the blindfolded person and lead them through the assault course.  Each guide should start with five points. Every time the blindfolded person accidentally touches a chair or box the guide should lose a point.
5. Once the blindfolded person has successfully manoeuvred through the assault course a second pair should be allowed to take a turn.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God we imagine the Christians‘ concern when they heard that Saul was coming to arrest them. We imagine men and women waiting in Damascus for the guards to arrive. 

Father we thank you that by the time Saul reached the city he was a changed man. Thank you that through your love and forgiveness and the powerful help of the Holy Spirit, Saul changed from a man that wanted to hurt the followers of Jesus to becoming a follower himself. 

Thank you Father God that, in the same way Saul turned from his old way of living and began a life of trusting you, we too can say ‘Yes’ to your love and forgiveness and with the help of the Holy Spirit, learn and grow to live the way you created us to live. Amen.

With younger children, or during a shorter session you may wish to select just one or two phrases from the reflective prayer.


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346 - Tears for Tabitha

 
 

15 minute Story Planner 

Reference 
Acts 9
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 392


1. Setting the scene - 2 mins
 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about ‘The Early Church FlashCards’ cards one to five.


2. Starter question - 1 min

Can you imagine having to make all our own clothes, stitching together pieces of fabric to make trousers or knitting jumpers, scarves and cardigans? Just think how long it would take to make clothes for a whole family!


3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

Click on the images at the beginning of this post to download more web resources

  • A map of the Holy Land with Joppa and Lydda clearly marked

  • Clothes, including items for children and adults



4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - You will need lots of items of clothing that children can put on over the top of what they are wearing, such as cardigans, hats, gloves, scarves etc.

Encourage the children to sit in a circle as you tell the story. Place the items of clothing in the middle of the circle. When you talk about the friends and neighbours holding the items Tabitha made for them and crying, encourage everyone to make sobbing noises as they pick an item of clothing from the centre of the circle and either put it on or hold it. If you feel it is appropriate you could allow the children to make ridiculously loud sobbing noises and then quieten down. As you talk about Peter sending the people away, encourage the children to place the items of clothing on the floor in front of them.


5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  

Father we think about the generosity of Tabitha. We imagine her creating garments - cutting and stitching fabric into clothes for her friends and neighbours. Father we thank you for the gifts and abilities you have given us. Thank you that we can use them to comfort and help others.

Father we think about Peter’s obedience and faith that day. Father we thank you that even though Tabitha had died Peter trusted that you would bring her back to life. Father help us to believe that when we pray you are always listening and want to give us all that we need to live your way.

Thank you for this wonderful story that teaches us about your great power and the wonderful friendship among the Believers. Thank you that when people heard this story hundreds of years ago they were drawn to your kindness. Father we pray that this story will keep on drawing people to you. Amen.

With younger children, or during a shorter session you may wish to select just one or two phrases from the reflective prayer.



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349 - Prison gates open

 
 

15 minute Story Planner 

Reference 
Acts 12
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 394

1. Setting the scene - 2 mins 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about ‘The Early Church FlashCards’ cards one to five.

Notes
Make sure you are happy with the stories content before reading it to the children. You may need to change some of the wording in the first two paragraphs when telling the story to younger children.

2. Starter question - 1 min
Do you live in a city or perhaps you have recently visited one? Today, when we drive in and out of cities there are no gates or doors to open and close behind us. But hundreds of years ago many cities did have gates. The gates were often huge and made of wood or metal.

At the time of the Early Church the city of Jerusalem had big iron gates. Each day the gates were opened wide then at night they were tightly shut so nobody could go in or out. However one night, Jerusalem’s city gates swung silently open all by themselves and two figures passed into the street beyond.

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Click on the images at the beginning of this post to download more web resources

  • Dressing-up soldier’s helmet or sword

  • A short length of plastic or metal chain – available from a DIY or garden centre

  • ‘Hurry! Get up!’ Speech bubble (see Printables)

  • ‘It’s Peter!’ Speech bubble (see Printables)


4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - You will need at least five scarves that can be used as blindfolds. Encourage four or five children to stand in a circle – these will be the guards. Ask for a volunteer to be Peter. ‘Peter’ should sit or crouch in the middle of the circle and pretend to be asleep. Ask for another volunteer to be the angel. The ‘angel’ should stand on the outside of the circle.

Encourage the ‘guards’ to face out from the circle with their hands by their sides and about 70 cm (approximately an arms-length) between them. Give the guards blindfolds to place over their eyes and tell them they each have two lives. Explain that the angel now needs to pass the guards to reach Peter. However if a guard thinks the angel is passing through the gap on their right or their left they should raise their appropriate arm to block the angel’s entrance. They should do this gently so as not to hurt the angel.

If a guard raises his/her arm and the angel is not passing by their side they lose a life. If however they touch the angel or block the angel’s entrance the angel has failed and must sit out with the other children. The guard who stopped the angel should now become the new ‘angel’ and a new volunteer become ‘Peter’. If however the angel reaches the centre of the circle he/she should tap Peter on the shoulder and Peter should stand.

If you have time play the game a couple of times.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God we think about Peter fast asleep on the cold prison floor. We think about the Apostle’s belief that whatever happened You were in charge. Father help us to trust you as Peter did so that even when we are in the midst of trouble we keep on believing that you are with us, caring for us and guiding us. Father we think about the Christians praying for Peter. Father help us to keep on praying for those around us. Help us to keep praying for the best possible outcome in every situation. Amen.



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350 - The God's have come to Earth

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Acts 13-14
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 396

Notes
Zeus’ and ‘Hermes’ were the names of two gods worshipped by the Greek people. Both Paul and Barnabas believed in One God. They believed that God was three in One; One God, three Persons or parts: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. They believed that Jesus was God the Son. When the man was healed by the power of the Holy Spirit, Paul and Barnabas wanted God to be praised. They would have been horrified to discover that people thought they were actually gods.

1. Setting the scene  - 2 mins 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about ‘The Early Church FlashCards’ cards one to six . 

2. Starter question - 1 min
 
Have you ever given someone a bunch of flowers, perhaps your mum or your grandma? One day, the apostle Paul was given a garland of flowers. A garland is a long line of flowers threaded onto a piece of string. Sometimes a garland is tied into a loop and placed around a person’s neck – it shows that a person is important or special. Do you think Paul was pleased to receive a garland of flowers?

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Click on the images at the beginning of this post to download more web resources

  • A bunch of flowers
  • A map showing Paul’s first missionary trip
  • A globe or map of the world
  • Two signs, one saying Zeus and Hermes  (see Printables)
  • A cheap garland of plastic flowers or bunched-up tissue paper stuck to a long loop of string.

4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - A string of flowers
You will need: Flower pictures for colouring in (see Printables), wax crayons or pastel crayons, a long piece of string and clothes pegs.

1. Before the session hang the string up like a washing-line across your teaching area.
2. Just before you tell the story encourage the children to colour in the flower pictures.
3. Peg the flowers to the ‘washing-line’.
4. As you tell the story refer to the flowers as you talk about the garlands presented to Paul and Barnabas.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God, we thank you for all the people who take your good news around the world today.  

We thank you that in thousands of cities, towns and villages there are people passing on the wonderful news that Jesus lived, died and rose again so that everybody everywhere can be close friends with you.

Father we ask that you keep these people safe as they travel from place to place. Father keep them safe as they travel across the oceans and countryside in the way Paul and Barnabas did.   Amen.



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352 - Singing in prison

 
 

15 minutes Story planner

Reference 
Acts 16
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 398
‘Paul and Silas in prison’ see Printables

1. Setting the scene - 2 mins 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about ‘The Early Church FlashCards’ cards one to seven  . 

2. Starter question - 1 min
Have you ever been inside an old jail? Perhaps you’ve visited one in a castle. Can you think what an ancient jail looked like: big heavy doors, long metal chains on the floor, perhaps even some wooden stocks?

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Click on the images at the beginning of this post to download more web resources to help tell this story.

  • Pictures from a Bible Story picture book
  • A map showing Paul’s second mission trip (Early Church Flashcard number seven)
  • Speech bubbles (see Printables)
  • A short length of chain from a garden centre or DIY shop
  • A pair of stocks made from a cardboard box (see below)
 
Make the hole large enough for a child to easily get their feet in and out.

Make the hole large enough for a child to easily get their feet in and out.

 

4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy colouring in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Help the Jailor reach Paul and Silas.

 
spiral.png
 

You will need: a piece of thin rope or washing line approximately three to five metres long, a stopwatch on a phone, small fold-back bulldog clips, stone steps and figures (see Printables) and a list of questions (see Printables).

1. Lay the rope on the floor to form a spiral.
2. Set out the ‘stone steps’ as shown.
3. Clip the figures into the bulldog clips and place ‘Paul’ and ‘Silas’ in the middle of the spiral and the ‘Jailor’ at the start.
4. Explain that every time the children get a question right the Jailor moves on one stone step. If they cannot answer the question or they get it wrong the Jailor stays where he is.
5. Tell the children that they have two minutes to get the Jailor to Paul and Silas in the inner part of the jail.  
You might like to give extra time to younger children.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God we think about the story. We imagine Paul and Silas inside the cold, damp cell singing songs of thanks and praise to you. 

Father we thank you that Paul and Silas worshipped you despite being locked up inside a prison. Please help us to remember that you always deserve our worship. Help us to remember that you deserve our worship wherever we are and however we feel. 

Father we imagine the tremendous noise as the prison started to shake. We picture the prisoners' surprise as doors flew open and chains rattled to the ground. We imagine Paul calling to the Jailor: ‘We are all still here’.

Father we thank you that on that evening the Jailor and his family heard the Good News about Jesus. We thank you that each one of them chose to say ‘Yes’ to your love and forgiveness.  Amen



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354 - The long sermon

 
 

15 minute Story planner

Reference 
Acts 20
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 400

Notes
The apostle Paul was a great teacher. He carefully explained about God’s goodness, his power and his wisdom. However this story suggests that some of Paul’s sermons were long; in fact some of his letters were long too. Halfway through writing to the Church in Philippi Paul says ‘and finally’ (Philippians 3:1), as if he is about to finish the letter, but he writes over a thousand more words before actually finishing. 

1. Setting the scene  - 2 mins 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about ‘The Early Church FlashCards’ cards one to eight. 

2. Starter question - 1 min
Have you ever listened to a long talk? Did it feel as if the talk went on and on and on? Sometimes, even when somebody is speaking about something interesting, it can be hard to listen for a long time – we might start to think about something else or begin to feel a little sleepy… our eyes slowly close and, before we know it, we’re drifting into a deep, deep sleep. One day as Paul spoke, a young man found it hard to concentrate on what the apostle was saying… 

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Click on the images at the beginning of this post to download more web resources

Beware of allergies – make sure it is safe for the children in your group to handle and taste the food used in this activity

  • A map showing Paul’s first missionary trip, a globe or map of the world
  • A small bag of coins 
  • A picture of an oil lamp (see Printables)
  • ‘Don’t worry, he is still alive!’ speech bubble (see Printables)
  • Optional – bread, olives and grapes.

4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - ‘Keep talking’ challenge
You will need: a stopwatch on a phone and a selection of objects such as a potato, a ruler etc.
1. Place the objects in a fabric bag.  
2. Encourage a volunteer to select something from the bag without looking.
3. Ask the volunteer to pretend that what they have selected is very special to them, and to spend at least thirty seconds explaining why they like it so much. What they say can be made-up. For example if they selected the ruler they could say how much they like the way the numbers are written in tiny writing along the side. They could talk about how they hate drawing wiggly lines and how useful it is for reaching things on a high shelf. 

Option 3 - Talking with different emotions
You will need the emotions graphic (see Printables) 
1. Explain to the children that you are going to take it in turns to say a nursery rhyme. But you will each say it in the style of an emotion selected from the emotions graphic e.g. happy, sad etc.
2. While you are saying the rhyme the other children need to guess how you are feeling. They should then be able to select the emotion from the graphic.
3. Allow other children to have a go. If you run out of emotions select other styles such as saying the rhyme in the style of a cowboy, a comedian/clown, a news reader, a deep sea diver, an alien, a librarian or a king.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God, we thank you that the Apostle Paul taught the first Christians about your goodness, your power and your wisdom. We thank you that Paul's letters were copied into hundreds of languages so that thousands of people can read them today.

Father we recognise that sometimes it’s hard for us to keep on learning and listening when we feel tired and busy. We think about Eutychus wanting so much to hear what was being said but falling fast asleep. Father we ask that you help us to listen carefully even when we have many other things to do, and to learn more and more about your goodness, your power and your wisdom day after day.  Amen.



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355 & 356 - Paul is arrested & The secret plot

 
 

15 minutes Story planner

Reference 
Acts 21-23
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 401-403
‘Paul is arrested’ see Printables

1. Setting the scene  - 2 mins 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about ‘The Early Church FlashCards’ cards one to nine . 

2. Starter question -1
Have you ever thought that people’s lives are like stories? In a story all sorts of wonderful things happen and in people’s lives different and exciting things happen too. If you think about it, no one person’s life story is the same; everybody meets different people and does different things - that’s one of the things that makes us special.

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Click on the images at the beginning of this post to download more web resources

  • A toy Roman helmet
  • A small piece of rope
  • A picture of Saul on the road to Damascus from a children’s picture Bible
  • A coat
  • A small tray of play sand

4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Listen to someone tell their story
Invite somebody from your church congregation to very briefly tell their ‘story’ about becoming a Christian. Make sure your arrangements for having a visitor in your setting comply with your church’s Safeguarding Policies and Procedures. Tell the Bible story using the props listed above then encourage your visitor to speak for around five minutes. Your visitor may prefer to be interviewed by you or a helper. When the visitor has told their story ask the children if they would like to ask any questions. 

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God, we imagine the angry crowds rushing towards Paul. We remember they were frustrated that Paul was not living the way they thought he should live. They were cross that people who were not Jewish were in their Temple. 

Father we think about Paul being led away followed by the angry crowd. We imagine Paul being pushed and shoved. Father we remember that Paul did not reply with angry words or push back the people trying to hurt him. Instead he stood up and told his story. He told the crowd about God speaking to him on the way to the city of Damascus and the work of the Holy Spirit in his life.

Father we thank You for Paul's example, how even when he was being treated badly he still wanted to tell the people around him the good news about Jesus. Father we ask that You help us to tell others about Your Son. Father we ask that the Holy Spirit works powerfully in our lives guiding and changing us from the inside out, so that we long to share with our friends and family what we know about You.   Amen.

With younger children, or during a shorter session you may wish to select just one or two phrases from the reflective prayer.



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357& 358_Shipwreck! & Safe Ashore!

 
 

15 minutes Story planner

Reference 
Acts 24-28
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 403-405
‘Paul, the island and the snake’ see Printables

1. Setting the scene - 2 mins 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about ‘The Early Church FlashCards’ cards one to nine . 

2. Starter question - 1 min
Have you ever got cold and wet on a rainy day? Have you stood outside until rain seeped through your clothes and dripped off the end of your cold nose? 

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Click on the images at the beginning of this post to download more web resources

  • A map of Paul’s journey to Rome (You could use FlashCard number eight of the Early Church set)
  • A toy boat 
  • A bundle of sticks
  • A tie snake (see below)

4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - A game of ‘Snakes and Rope’
You will need: a dice, masking tape, three or four old ties, kitchen tissue paper, snake tongue and eyes (see Printables), PVA glue, pots and brushes three or four pieces of cord cut to various lengths (between 10 cm and 50 cm), ‘How to set up and play a game of Snakes and Ropes’ instructions (see Printables), enough counters for one per team (you could use plastic plates or up-turned cups) and ‘a list of questions’ (see Printables).

 
IMG_20170224_162817605.jpg
 

1.  Make three or four  tie snakes by stuffing kitchen tissue paper inside the ties. Stick two eyes and a tongue to the wide end of the stuffed tie.
2. Tell the story using the props then play a game of Snakes and Ropes. 

Option 3 - If you have a ‘Healing on the Streets’ ministry in your area you could ask somebody from the team to come and talk to the children about their experiences of praying for people. Relate their experience back to Paul praying for people on the island. Make sure you comply with your church’s Policies and Procedures when inviting guests to speak to the children. 

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins
Father God, we imagine the terrible storm that tossed the ship to and fro. We imagine the travellers' great relief as they crawled onto the shore of the island. Father we thank You that You looked after all those aboard that boat. 

Father we remember the great kindness of the islanders who welcomed the travellers. Father help us to be kind and generous to those who we see are in trouble. Thank You that as the islanders helped the travellers they too were helped. We remember that Paul was able to tell them the great news of Jesus and then pray for all those who were unwell.  

Father we think about Paul's travelling companions; we imagine not only their great relief but their amazement at seeing Paul unharmed by the snake. Thank You that as Your Holy Spirit works in and through the lives of Christians, people close by get to see You at work. Amen

With younger children, or during a shorter session you may wish to select just one or two phrases from the reflective prayer.


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361 - The runaway slave

 
 

15 minute Story Planner 

Reference 
Philemon
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 408

1. Setting the scene - 2 mins 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about ‘The Early Church FlashCards’ cards one to ten.

Notes
At the time of the Early Church many people had servants. The servants helped with their master’s work or looked after their house. Sometimes servants were owned by their master – this meant they had to ask permission to leave their master’s house. These servants were called slaves. The apostles made it very clear that if people had slaves they should always be kind and caring towards them.

2. Starter question - 1 min
Did you know that many names have a meaning? Perhaps you already know the meaning of your name. Today’s story is about a man called Onesimus (‘o-NES-e-muss’). His name meant useful. However he didn’t always live up to the meaning of his name…

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • A short length of plastic or metal chain – available from a DIY or garden centre

  • An envelope with ‘Philemon’ written on the front

  • A letter from Paul (see Printables)


4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Encourage the children to sit in a circle on the floor. If appropriate explain that this game is similar to ‘wink murder’. Ask for a volunteer to be the master. The ‘master’ should leave the room while a second person is picked to be the runaway slave. The ‘runaway slave’ must remain seated in the circle.

The master should then be invited back into the room. At this point all the children except the master know who the runaway slave is. During the game the master must try and ‘find the runaway slave’. Meanwhile ‘the runaway slave’ should nod or wink at another child in the circle. When a child has been winked or nodded at they should call out ‘Gottcha!’ or ‘aha’ but try not to give away who nodded/winked at them.

When the master finally ‘finds’ the runaway slave. Two new volunteers should become the master and the runaway slave.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God we think about Onesimus, we think about the change that began in his life when he said ‘Yes’ to your love and forgiveness. Father we thank you that your Holy Spirit changes Christians from the inside out. Thank you that through your love and the powerful help of the Holy Spirit, we are learning and growing to live your way.

Father we think about Philemon who received the letter asking him to forgive his servant and give him a warm welcome.

Father help us to be people that are quick to forgive others and see the good work they are doing rather than the mistakes they have made. Thank you that over and over again you forgive us. Amen.



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362 - Letter to Jewish Christians

 
 

15 minute Story Planner 

Reference 
Hebrews
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 409

1. Setting the scene - 2 mins 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about ‘The Early Church FlashCards’ cards one to ten.

Notes
Today’s story is about a letter to the Hebrews. In our Bibles the letter is simply called ‘Hebrews’. People who study the Bible aren’t sure who wrote ‘Hebrews’ however some people describe it as a masterpiece. 

2. Starter question - 1 min
Do you sometimes feel like giving up? Perhaps when you are tired or busy, or things feel too difficult you feel like stopping; you feel like taking a break, having a rest or doing something different for a little while. During the time of the Early Church some of the Christians found life tough. They began to think that maybe things were better before they became Christians or even before Jesus came to live with people. A wise person wrote to these Christians and explained that Jesus is better than anything or anyone that has gone before – the writer urged the Christians not to give up.

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • ‘Old’ and ‘New’ signs (see Printables)

  • Small play figures to represent Jesus and Moses

  • A yellow wooden toy brick to represent the Ark

  • A scrap of thick material

  • A brown wooden toy brick to represent the altar

  • Two lollipop sticks to make the shape of a cross

  • ‘Don’t give up!’ textbox (see Printables)


4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - As you tell the story using the props place the two signs on a table. As you read paragraph 4 place the figure representing Jesus on the ‘new’ sign and the figure representing ‘Moses’ on the ‘old’ sign. As you read paragraph 5 place the yellow brick, the piece of fabric and the sticks in the shape of a cross on the ‘old’ sign. As you read paragraph 6, place the ‘altar’ on the ‘old’ sign’. Finally as you read paragraph 9, place the ‘don’t give up!’ textbox next to the two signs.

Option 3 - You will need: scissors and shopping catalogues.

Encourage the children to get into two or three teams. Give each team a catalogue and a pair of scissors. Ask them to find something they think is good but not fabulous, cut it out and place the picture in front of them. Now ask the children to find something they think is better. They should cut this out and place it in front of them. Now ask the children to find something even better than the first and second thing. They should cut this out too and place it in front of them. When the children have selected three pictures explain that they thought that each thing was better than what they had previously found. Remind the children that the letter to the Hebrews was written to a group of Christians who had started to think that the old things were best. The writer explained that Jesus was better than the old things – in fact Jesus is better than anything or anybody else.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God we thank you that although we hear many wonderful stories from the Old Testament this letter tells us that it is better to be close friends with you than to be an Old Testament hero. Thank you that over and over again the letter to the Hebrews tells us that Jesus is better than anything or anybody else.

Father we think about the message: ‘don’t give up’ and ask that you help us to keep going even during difficult times – we pray that you help us to trust you in our troubles and pray through our problems. Father we thank you for this letter. Amen.



Alongside this story, make the craft...

 
 
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