Thank you to Colea Henderson for writing this lesson. She took it in a more reflective direction, which I really like. Huge thank you to Jake Page as well for the fantastic artwork.
The Key to Loving God? Obedience. Continue reading
I just had a conversation today with someone I would consider a dear friend after a silence of 6 months. This quiet period bred two things in me: a wandering mind and the idea of bitterness. Without even realizing it, I was building a quiet cynicism towards this persons intentions and even their abilities.
Amazingly after talking, we both admitted to harboring almost the exact same resentment toward each other. The context’s were slightly different but the theme remained the exact same: injustice. Essentially, we felt that what happened to one of us should have happened to both of us.
It occurred to me that resentment typically comes from a sense of injustice. The notion that fairness should be an overarching theme to my life has rapidly revealed itself to be an illusion. Just like the illusion of control this myth of fairness seems to offer a system of false hope. Real injustice breeds social change whereas perceived injustice potentially breeds resentment.
I know I’m being somewhat cryptic here regarding my own situation but would feel it a betrayal to reveal our conversation completely. Still, he made an astoundingly discerning statement: “I guess resentment crept in because our relationship never got beyond the surface.” This saddened me…I’ve known him for 10 years.
How could someone I’ve known for so long so easily resent me? I think it’s because we didn’t practice that most difficult of tasks: accountability. In our professional and personal lives we never held each other to a level of accountability that would sustain our relationship through the rough times.
The fact is, all long-term relationships have good times and bad times. It’s in those bad times that we have to polish our ‘confessional’ skills. It’s hard to bear resentment toward your brother and sister when we’re accountable enough to confess those seeds of indignation.
The irony is that I think God is capable of handling our resentments toward him, justified or not. I don’t think you or I are capable of holding resentments toward each other though. It’s like trying to breathe through a straw when you are around someone who causes a subtle anger in you.
What are some triggers for resentment? Recurring thoughts of injustice, unfairness, failed expectations and frustrations. What is the answer? Confession. I use ancient and liturgical terms but their remedy is no less effectual. From the CEO to the cleaning crew, the executive to the cashier, find relief from resentment. Find healing and hope in your honesty.
Maybe your expectations were wrong. Maybe you got passed on the raise or the position. Or maybe, just maybe, you did do everything right and everything you possibly could.
My hope for you? Don’t be resentful, be free.
Preface: Over the next 12 weeks, Renovatus Kids/Elementary will be tackling 1 John. While it won’t exactly match the adult calendar in terms of preaching, it will still be a foundation for parents and their kids to dialogue on the same topics. This is definitely more exegetical than topical but I think kids will still find the cultural allusions both relevant and timely. I’m hosting it here for the sake of other kids ministries and churches that could implement it as well. Please note the Creative Commons License at the bottom. More good stuff to come!
1 John, Lesson One – 1:1-4
1 John 1:1-4
(1) That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life – (2) the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us – (3) that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. (4) And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
Free Time/Organized Play – you can allot up to 15 minutes for free time while children are making their way into the classroom. This is also a good time to get bathroom breaks out of the way.
Howzitgoin? – Use this time to capture each child’s week in review. Use the dry erase board to illustrate a scale of 1-10 – 1 being horrible and 10 being fantastic.
Activity #1 – A lot of times, you can tell who wrote a book by the way they wrote it or a song by how it sounds or a show by who’s in it. I’m going to call out a few titles of books or songs and I want you to tell me who you think wrote it. Split the class into two different groups and make sure the ages are diverse for both sides. The first person to raise your hand if you know the authors to the following titles, get’s a point for their team. The team with the most points wins! Here goes:
Great job everyone! Another reason it’s important to know who wrote a book is because it tells us a bit more about why they wrote it. Now, let’s talk about the book of 1 John. It comes after 2 Peter in the bible and before Revelation. The book of 1 John doesn’t exactly say who wrote it but we believe the Apostle John wrote it for several reasons. Let’s look at those reasons after we spend a few minutes worshipping God…
Worship – Shout Praises Kids, Today is the Day “Salvation is Here”
Activity #2 – All right, let’s get back into those same groups we were in before. We’re going to do a little investigation. I want everyone to take a copy of the first few verses of 1 John and the first few verses of the Gospel John. We know for a fact that the Apostle John wrote a Gospel but how can we know that he also wrote 1 John. Just like a detective looks for clues, I want you to find some similarities between both books. Hand the children the handout with the following scriptures – 1 John 1:1-4 & John 1:1-18. You can write on the handout by circling or drawing lines around and to similar words. For example, there’s a word that begins with the letter “B” which is in both books. What other similarities can you find? As you find them, let me know so I can write them down on the dry-erase board. The kids should find words like beginning, word, life & seen. You can also compare concepts like “dwelling among us” which will lead into the next part of the lesson…
Lesson – Let’s look back at 1 John again. There are four ‘sensual’ words that John uses. Think about our five senses: eyes, ears, nose, taste & touch. Which three senses does John talk about? John says, “That which we have heard (ears), that which we have seen with our eyes, that which we have looked upon (eyes), and our hands (touch) have handled…” This is important because John wanted us to know that Jesus was completely human just like us but completely God at the same time. Verse 2 says that Jesus is the same as our Heavenly Father. John knew that Jesus was God’s son because he got to hang out with Jesus and got to know Him very well. The Bible calls this “Fellowship”. Can you say that word with me? “Fellowship”. Let’s practice using our senses to see how well we can know what something is. Using just one or two of our senses at a time, I want you to figure out what I have here in church with me. First, have everyone close his or her eyes as you pass the following items around. Let them touch, taste or smell depending on what the item is but don’t let them say out loud what it might be until everyone’s had a chance. After each item as passed, take it away, let the kids open their eyes and give them a chance to guess. You can show the item once the guessing is done.
Now have them open their eyes, look at the attached pictures and try to guess what they are. Isn’t it amazing how well we know the world around us just based on one or two of our senses? What’s even more amazing is that God can still be experienced and Jesus Christ can still be known using our senses today. He created this world knowing that we can enjoy it using our senses. What we also know is that Jesus Christ himself had a real human body, experienced hunger, joy and pain just like you and I. His suffering and death on a cross was very real but so was His resurrection! The apostle’s felt the holes in his hands after Jesus came back from the grave. Let’s take a few minutes to worship God for sending His Son, Jesus to die for our sins…
Worship – Shout Praises Kids, Salvation is Here – Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)
Small Groups – Split your class to mirror the # of adults. Typically, there are two volunteers and so the recommended division is K-2nd graders and 3rd-5th graders. Have each group answer these questions:
Take up personal prayer requests and pray with each of your kids.
Snack Time – We have extra bags of chips left over from the Gauntlet.
Activity #3 – The last thing that John writes to his readers is that they have “fellowship” with other Christians and with God. Can you say that word again, “Fellowship”? Can anyone in here tell me what you think that word might mean? That’s a great answer! Basically, fellowship is the idea of sharing a good friendship and reaching for the same goal. What do you think some of our goals as Christians might be? Hold up a sports ball. Does everyone see what I’m holding? I want you to imagine that everyone on a team playing this sport has a different way of playing. First, let’s determine what the actual goal is…does anyone know? That’s right! Now let’s imagine that you get the ball and instead of running toward the goal, you run into the bleachers and do a chicken dance…let me see someone do the chicken dance! Or what if you get the ball, hold it between your legs and do jumping jacks…(go ahead and show the kids what that looks like). What would happen then? Exactly! Your team would lose the game. The point in being in fellowship is that you all have the same goal. What is our goal as believers of Jesus? Can you name some ways to help your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ reach the goal of a new heaven and a new earth?
Game – Finally, we’re going to practice being in fellowship with our friends in this room. This is a trust game. To truly be in fellowship with someone, you have to know how to trust him or her. In fact, the Apostle John said he trusted “that which he had heard”. I need 4 volunteers, paired into two separate teams. You can help pick the kids based on their ages. One person from each team will be blindfolded. The other teammate will then guide their blind partner around the room using only the sound of their voice. They can still give directions, such as, “turn right now or turn left here” but can’t physically touch the person. The first team to get all the way around the tables and chairs (or any other configuration you so choose) wins! The players can then switch blindfolds and be led in reverse direction, just so they don’t have the first path memorized. This game can be repeated several times but be sure to close with the Apostle’s creed. Ask the kids after the first round, “Did you have fun? What did it mean to trust what you heard?” God wants you to have fellowship with Him and with others so that your joy is completely full!
Close w/ The Apostle’s Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
Free Time/Organized Play/Clean Up – If you have any trash lying on the floor or on tables, use this time to clean up prior to letting free time commence.
love sick_an elementary curriculum_part one by Jonathan Simmons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.