God was.

Hi all! Welcome back!

We are back to July and back to the beginning of the Bible!

Today’s lesson is from Genesis 1 and John 1. The word Genesis means “start.” The book of Genesis is the start of the Bible. But it’s not the start of God…

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Do you know the very first thing the Bible says? It says “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” That means before anything else was ever made…God WAS. When was God made? He never was! Isn’t that hard to think about? God always has been and always will be. (Sometimes that makes my brain hurt to think about!) (Psalm 90:2, Isaiah 41:4, 1 Timothy 1:17, Revelation 10:6, Psalm 102:25, Isaiah 44:6)

God made the heavens and the earth…God made EVERYTHING.

That same very first verse tells us God’s Spirit was there and John 1 says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.” That verse is talking about Jesus.

God has three parts–God the father, God’s Spirit and God’s son Jesus. God the father, the son and the Holy Spirit were all there at the beginning. This is called the trinity. But that doesn’t mean there are three Gods…it’s all the same God…but He has three ways to show Himself. (This can be a tricky concept, even for grown ups sometimes!)

 

HERE is our song for this lesson.

HERE is a song posted by Ryan Folken.

THIS VIDEO is from What’s in the Bible (from the makers of veggie tales–love their material!!)

You can also check out THIS VIDEO which has a demonstration of the trinity from Kid Nation Ministries.

In the beginning, God was. Nothing came before God. God is the first, He made everything else. God the father, the son and the Holy Spirit always have been and always will be. And next time we will learn about the things God made.

For our craft today, we used black construction paper and oil pastels (but really you could use any medium you’d like.) I wrote out “in the beginning GOD was. Gen 1:1” I made the letters for GOD to be bubble letters and the kids filled them in.

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My son added a pizza inside the “O” of God because pizza is one of his favorite things God made haha.

 

Thanks for joining us, we look forward to studying through the Bible again and hope you’ll join us for the year! Love to you all!

The Holy of Holies

Hi again! Today’s lesson is from Hebrews 9 and 10.

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**As I typed this out, I realized it might be a bit advanced, so here is the super abbreviated version and below you’ll find the elongated version for sightly older kids.

Back when Moses was leading God’s people, God gave them some rules about church. There was a special room where God’s Spirit was and only the priest in charge could go in there and he only did that one time each year. When we sins, we are supposed to have to die forever, but the priest would kill and give God an animal (called a sacrifice) and ask God to forgive all the people for their bad choices (called sin).

But God knew there was a better way to forgive the people once and for all. So He sent His son Jesus. Jesus was perfect and He died for us. No more killing animals and when we believe in Jesus, we don’t have to die forever, instead we can live forever in heaven. Jesus became the sacrifice and He is now the priest in charge. He talks to God and asks Him to forgive our sins. When Jesus died, God said, “no more animal sacrifices, Jesus has died once and for all for ALL people and if you believe in Him, I will forgive you.” And now, instead of having to go to a special place one time a year, God’s Spirit lives in our hearts. The Bible says our bodies are a temple (because God’s Spirit used to live in the temple and now He lives in our hearts!)

 

***Longer, more detailed version:

In Hebrews, God reminds us that before Jesus came to earth, God set up rules with His people. (Moses and the Israelites in the desert). They had special rules for how and where to worship God. There was a main room for people to worship God and then, behind a giant curtain, was a room called the Most Holy Place (The Holy of Holies) which had the ark of the covenant, and God’s Spirit lived there.

The priests worked in the temple (church),  but only the high priest (the one in charge) entered the Holy of Holies, and he only did that once a year. When the High Priest did go in that very special room, he never went without first making a sacrifice (killing one of the animals God told him to). Then he asked God to forgive the sins the people had committed. God’s Spirit lived in the Holy of Holies, in that special room and so only one time a year the High Priest would get to really be with God.

It was a very special job that had to be done *just right.*

But God had another plan…a way for EVERYONE to be close to Him. The gifts and animals sacrifices being offered to God then did not really do anything to fix peoples’ hearts forever. But God was showing the people that it would take a LOT for their sin to be forgiven. The animals the people had to kill were very important to them. They would eat or sell those animals (it was the most important thing they had)…when they sacrificed them to God it was like saying “I need YOU God, more than my animals. (Like we would say ‘I need YOU God more than my house, my money or all my toys.’)
But if you remember from last time, Jesus is the new High Priest and He did not go into the Holy of Holies because He sacrificed an animal. Do you know what Jesus sacrificed? HIMSELF! God says “the blood of goats and bulls sprinkled on those who are unclean sanctify them so that they are clean on the outside. How much more, then, will the blood of Jesus, who was perfect, cleanse the sin from our inside (our hearts) so that we may serve the living God!” They used to sacrifice their best goat or bull but goats and bulls are not perfect, so it would never make the people perfectly “clean” in God’s eyes. But Jesus WAS  and IS perfect and He makes us right with God. When God looks at us, He doesn’t see our sin, He sees His perfect son, Jesus.

Jesus was the new sacrifice. He was perfect and God had said that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. That is why Jesus had to shed His blood for us so we could be forgiven. (He could have said “no” and we wouldn’t be forgiven by God…but He did! THANK YOU JESUS!)

Jesus did not enter the sanctuary made by people, (that was only a copy of the true one in heaven); He entered heaven itself, and He is now with God to ask for OUR forgiveness!

And the best part is,  He doesn’t have to keep dying and going to heaven to offer himself again and again, like how the high priest went into the Most Holy Place every year to ask for forgiveness.

But Jesus came once, died once, and He did away with sin at once by the sacrifice of Himself. And the next time He comes back, will be to take us all to heaven with Him!

Today we don’t have to kill animals anymore for God to forgive us, “And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.” Jesus died for us. And when Jesus died on the cross, the big curtain ripped in half, from the top to the bottom (like from God to us) saying “It is finished. Come here to Me!” The Holy of Holies was now open, God’s Spirit could come to all the people who love Him and we can be perfectly forgiven because of Jesus. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6 that our bodies are now the temple of God. He used to live in the Holy of Holies and now He lives in our hearts.

 

 

Thanks for joining us, love to you all!

Our High Priest

Welcome back! Today’s lesson is from Hebrews 4:14-16 and 5:1-10.

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So back in the old testament, before Jesus came, the people used to have church in the temple. There was a special room in the back called the Holy of Holies where God’s Spirit lived. And one time each year, the High Priest (the guy in charge of the church) would go in and talk right with God. He would ask God to forgive the people for their sins and listen to what God had to say.

In the letter to the Hebrews, it tells us that JESUS is now our High Priest. He is in charge. When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain that separated that room (the Holy of Holies) from the rest of the church, that curtain ripped in two and the room was open. (Because now God’s Spirit could live in everyone’s hearts!)

So we don’t have to go to a special place to talk to God, or even have someone else do it for us, like they used to have to do. We can talk to God ourselves!

In Hebrews it tells us that Jesus talked to God when He was here on Earth. He would pray for people, that God would make them better, or that He would forgive their sins….and do you know now that Jesus lives in heaven…He’s STILL doing that?! He is STILL talking to God for us!

He is the new High Priest forever and ever. And we can talk to Him anytime and He will help us.

If you remember Jesus was a person just like you and me. So He knows how hard it can be to make good choices. (Jesus never sinned, but He understands how hard it is and He knows how sad things can feel sometimes.) So we can know that He understands when things are hard for us and that He will show us mercy and grace (He won’t be angry with us or not help us.)

We never have to be afraid to pray to God even though He might seem big and far away and we can always know that God is listening and that even Jesus talks to God for us! Jesus is the new High Priest and we can talk to Him anytime we need to, about anything we want and He will hear us and help us. Isn’t that WONDERFUL!?

 

Thanks for joining us again. Love to you all.

The Word of God

Hello again! Today’s lesson is from a few places in the New Testament, but we’ll be mainly focusing on Hebrews 4:12. (From the letter written to the Hebrews–most people think Paul wrote it, but the Bible doesn’t say for sure.)

In this verse God wants us to know “The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

What is the word of God? And how can WORDS be alive?

The Word of God. John, Jesus’ disciple wrote that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” Do you know who this verse might be talking about?

It’s Jesus! The Bible says that Jesus is the Word of God. God talks to us through Jesus and the Bible. Those are HIS words. The words of Jesus and the words of the Bible are GOD’S words to us.

Jesus was with God in the beginning and He made everything and in Him is the light of all people. If the Word of God is Jesus, then we KNOW He can be alive! We know Jesus is alive in heaven with God.

The Word of God is alive and active (that means doing stuff!) Jesus didn’t just go to heaven and sit around all day!

He is sharper than any two-edged sword. God’s word is complete and absolute (nothing is missing in the Bible).  Like a sword, the Word of God (Jesus) divides people. Some people love Him, some people do not. When we read the Bible we choose to love God or we choose not to. There is no in between. And when we love God, when we read the Bible it can help us know which way to go. It gets into our hearts and shows us which way to go. God’s word shows us what is good and what is not. It helps us make the right choices.

In Paul’s second letter to Timothy (3:16-17) he says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” That means EVERY word in the Bible is important, can teach us something, and make us more like God.

God gives us His words in the Bible, His words through Jesus and His words in our heart through His Holy Spirit.

The word of God is alive in Jesus, it divides people (for or against God and shows us our good or bad choices), and teaches us new things everyday!

For our craft today we cut a sword shape out of cardboard and then the kids wrapped the end in foil. We wrote the 3 things we learned today on the bottom of the sword.

 

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Thanks again for joining us. Love to you all!

Fruit of the Spirit

Welcome again!

Today’s lesson is from Galatians 5.

(Our lesson from last year can be found HERE)

So this time Paul was writing a letter to the Galatians (people who lived in Galatia). In this letter, one of the things Paul reminds the people is to live how God wants them to live. He says before they knew God, they did whatever they wanted. And everyone sins….so what showed was their sin…they were angry, and mean and thought only about themselves. But, he says, once we know God, God’s spirit lives in our heart and we should become more like Him everyday. And that will show too! (How do we get closer to God? We pray and talk to Him! We sing praises to Him and we read the Bible: His words to us).

The things we do that show we are sinful or that show we follow God are called fruit. Just like fruit trees grow and show off fruit, people grow too and show off what’s inside their heart. Sometimes people grow more and more into their bad choices. Sometimes, they grow more and more to be like God. A yucky tree makes yucky fruit and a good healthy tree makes yummy fruit. Just like trees, people who make bad choices show off yucky things and people who make Godly choices will show good things. These are called the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit is what shows when God’s spirit lives in your heart. And the more you become like Him, the more these things will show.

So what ARE the fruits of the Spirit? Paul says they are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.

We drew trees with 9 branches and then drew a picture for each fruit as we discussed them.

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Love-heart

Joy-smiley face-(being excited about God’s plans)

Peace-cloud-(not worrying, but trusting God)

Patience-clock-(waiting with a happy heart)

Kindness-flower

Goodness-halo-(obeying God)

Faithfulness-mountain-(always trusting God, not loving other things more than God)

Gentleness-lamb

Self-Control-tongue-(being able to take time to make good decisions, not just doing whatever we want right away. We drew a tongue for this one because it can be very hard to think before you use your words to make sure you are using NICE words).

 

And since these are fruits of the Spirit…that means this is what God is like! If we are like Him, we will show these things and He is love, He is joy, He is peace, He is patient, He is kind, He is good, He is faithful, He is gentle, and He has complete self-control.

Also:

We like THIS VIDEO from the “What’s in the Bible” series.

There is also THIS SONG from Steve Green’s “Hide ’em in your heart” album.

 

Thanks again for joining us. Love to you all!

Paul and Barnabas

Hi all! Today’s story is from Acts 13-15.

Paul (who used to be called Saul) and Barnabas (the disciples who had welcomed Saul after he stopped being mean to God’s people and started loving God) began to travel around and teach people about God.

Some people loved to hear about Jesus and a lot of people believed in Him. But some people did not. They met one sorcerer (like a witch) who would do sneaky magic and he worked for a very important leader. Paul and Barnabas taught this leader about Jesus but the sorcerer tried to tell the leader it wasn’t true. Jesus hadn’t REALLY died for our sins and lived again! But then Paul said, “How dare you life about God! From now on you will be blind and won’t be able to see!” And in that moment, God’s Holy Spirit made the man blind. Then the leader KNEW that Paul and Barnabas’ God was the REAL God.

As they traveled God helped them do lost of amazing miracles to prove to the people that Jesus WAS really God. We don’t see that as much today, because we have those examples in the Bible…but then the people were just starting to hear about Jesus and believe. Lots and lots of people believed, but many of the important leaders and rulers did not like them talking about Jesus and in some places they told them to go and never come back, and once the people even tried to kill Paul by throwing rocks at him (like they did to Stephen). But Paul did not die, he got up and kept right on teaching in the next city.

They spent most of their time teaching to Gentiles (the people who were not God’s chosen people of the old testament.) Remember when Jesus came, He said God was showing you before how He sets His people apart. They are special. But it’s not just one family of people…His message is for everyone. And He wants His people to be Holy (set apart…different from the world…trying to be like GOD), but they can come from ANY family! Anyone who believes in Jesus can be saved.

Some of the people were so amazed that Paul and Barnabas could make sick people better or do other amazing miracles that they said “YOU guys must be God too!” But they said, “No no…it’s just God’s POWER that helps us do these things. We are regular people like you! We are just doing what God helps us do!”

Isn’t it amazing how God can use just two guys to tell SO many people about Him?! You can tell other people about Jesus too! God has big plans for you too, no matter how small you may be. And we never have to be afraid to tell people about Jesus, because we know God is control and we can trust Him.

We’ll have more on Paul tomorrow. Thanks for joining us. Love to you all!

Peter’s Vision: God loves EVERYBODY!

Hi all! Today’s story comes from Acts 10. Our lesson and craft from last year on this story can be found HERE.

In a city called Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a Roman soldier. He and all his family loved God, even though they were not Israelites (God’s “chosen” people). He was generous (helped people and gave them things they needed) and he prayed to God. One day he had a vision (like a dream). He saw an angel who said, “Cornelius! God has heard your prayers and seen your gifts to the poor. God wants you to send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Peter.” (Do you remember Peter? He was Jesus’ disciple and friend. He walked on the water with Jesus, and he pretended he didn’t know Jesus the night He died. But when he found out Jesus was alive again, he jumped out of his boat and swam to hug Him! And now he was busy telling everyone about Jesus!)

Cornelius was scared! But he called three of his helpers and he told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.

At lunchtime the next day Peter  went up on the roof of a house to pray. He was very hungry and wanted something to eat, so while lunch was being made, he prayed and had a dream. He saw a large sheet coming down and it had all kinds of animals on it, as well as reptiles and birds. Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill these animals and eat them.”

“No way, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” (Back then God’s people were not supposed to eat certain animals. This was for two reasons. The first reason is some of these animals are not very healthy for people to eat and especially back then when they didn’t know much about germs and cooking germs out of food. God was protecting His people from the yucky foods. But, the second and more important reason is that God’s people were supposed to be different from everyone else. He chose some animals to be “clean”…clean and good for eating and ALSO for sacrifices. These animals were used to make up for the peoples’ sins. God was using this as a reminder that some things are Holy (set apart). He wants His people to be clean and pure in their hearts like the good, clean food. God’s people had been different from everyone else, just like some of the animals were set apart and good to eat.) Peter has always obeyed God’s rules about eating and didn’t want to be unclean in God’s eyes by eating bad food.

The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything bad that God has made clean.”

This happened three times, and then the sheet and the animals were taken back to heaven.

Peter was confused about the meaning of the dream and was thinking about it when the men sent by Cornelius came to the house. They yelled, asking if Peter was staying there.

While Peter was still thinking about the dream, God’s Spirit said to him, “Peter, three men are looking for you. Go downstairs. Do not be afraid to go with them, for I have sent them.”
So Peter went and the next day Peter and some other people who loved God went with the three men to Cornelius’ house. When they arrived, Cornelius was waiting for them and had invited a lot of people to his house to hear Peter talk about God. Peter now knew what his dream meant.

Peter went inside and said to them: “You all know that it is against our law for a Jew (all Jews are Israelites from Israel, but not everyone who was living in Israel was a Jew–one of God’s chosen people from Judah) to visit a Gentile (someone who is not a Jew.) But God has shown me that I should not call anyone unclean. May I ask why you sent for me?”

Cornelius answered: “I had a dream and God told me to send for you. It was good of you to come see us! Now we are all here to listen to everything God has commanded you to tell us.”

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but loves anybody who trusts Him and obeys Him. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know how God gave Jesus the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who need it, because God was with Him. We saw everything He did. They killed him by hanging him on a cross,  but God raised Him from the dead on the third day. He told us to teach and to say that Jesus is the one whom God chose and everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name.”

While Peter was speaking, the Holy Spirit came into the hearts of everybody there. The Jewish believers who had come with Peter were amazed that the Holy Spirit had been given out even on Gentiles. The new believers were baptized and God welcomed them as His children, just like He does for us!

Before the Israelites had been God’s chosen people…but God sent Jesus for ALL of us. He loves EVERYBODY and wants us all to know Him and love Him. No matter what we look like, sound like, even what we act like. Before God’s people had been the “clean ones” but now God was showing Peter that he shouldn’t call other people “unclean.” God wants to love EVERYONE! Even people who make bad choices…God loves them too. (Which is everyone. We all sin sometimes!) God wants to know us and forgive us. Isn’t that the BEST news?! That is called the Gospel. God sent His son to die for all of us, not just a few…for ALL of us. He loves us and wants us to choose Him. God loves everyone!

For our craft today we made heart people. We took a full piece of construction paper and cut out a heart. Then we cut out three long strips of paper (and cut one in half). These became the legs and the 1/2 pieces became the arms. We fan folded them and taped them on. Then we added a face and the text: God loves EVERYBODY! Acts 10

This video is posted by Kids Apps and is told storybook style.

This video is from Gracelink and is posted by Sabbath School (we always enjoy their videos).

Thanks for joining us again. Love to you all!