Bible Verse: I am making all things new. Revelation 21:5
- Show the children a brand new toy, preferably shiny.
- Say: Look at this brand new toy. See how shiny it is? I can't wait to play with it! I love new things! How do you feel when you get new things?
- Let the children share their feelings/experiences.
- Say: Did you know that God loves new things too? And guess what? God can even make us feel like brand new people! God can make us all shiny and new inside our hearts! And that is just what happpened one day for a man called Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus wasn't very kind. He was greedy. It was his job to collect money, called taxes, from people. But he used to take much more than he should, and keep it for himself. But one day, Zacchaeus met Jesus, and he changed! He became like a brand new person! Let's read the story...
- Either read the story from a children's Bible or tell it in your own words from Luke 19:1-10. Show pictures as you do so.
- Say: Wow! After Zacchaeus met Jesus he was like a brand new person! He was all shiny and clean on the inside! How do you think Zacchaeus felt? How do you think Jesus felt? Isn't it wonderful to know that every day, God is working in our hearts to make us shiny and brand new?
- Ask children to put their hands together and repeat each phrase of this prayer after you: Dear God. Thank you. That every day. You are working. In our hearts. To make everything new. Amen.
This is a tried and tested, fun activity for tweens. Each team races through the 4 Gospels to discover 6 words that will make up a sentence about treasure. The 'coordinates' used are taken from the New Revised Standard Version. If you do not have these Bibles, you must change the 'coordinates' that are listed below, so that the activity will work.
- Take 4 envelopes & number them 1-4.
- Write out the following sentences on strips of paper, including the #:
- 1. God's treasure is peace and love.
- 2. Your treasure is found in heaven.
- 3. Choose treasure of faith and peace.
- 4. Good treasure is easy to find.
in your facility.
4. Take 4 sheets of paper, number them 1-4 and write on the top of each:
'Bible Geocaching Coordinates.'
5. Write the following coordinates on each sheet:
- On Sheet 1: Matthew 27: 43: 19 / Matthew 6: 21: 4 / Mark 12: 27: 2 / John 20: 21: 6 / Luke 12: 31: 6 / John 21: 17: 14.
- On Sheet 2: Matthew 9: 2: 28 / Matthew 6: 21: 4 / Mark 12: 27: 2 / Luke 7: 10: 12 / John 12: 44: 7 / Matthew 16: 19: 11.
- On Sheet 3: Matthew 8: 3: 12 / Matthew 6: 21: 4 / Matthew 6: 22: 6 / Mark 11: 22: 5 / Luke 12: 31: 6 / John 20: 21: 6.
- On Sheet 4: Matthew 7: 17: 5 / Matthew 6: 21: 4 / Luke 12: 23: 3 / Matthew 7: 13: 15 / John 20: 27: 4 / Mark 11: 2: 20.
plastic Bible verse gold coins.
WHAT TO DO:
- Put the tweens into 4 teams. Number them 1-4.
- Say: Welcome to Bible Geocaching! Your mission is to hunt through the 4 Gospels to find 6 words that will make up a sentence about treasure. To find the words, I will give each team 3 'Bible coordinates'. (Show them a 'Bible Geocaching Coordinates' sheet) The first number tells you the chapter. The second number tells you the verse. The third number tells you how many words to count along in that verse. (Demonstrate) Once you have found the word, write it down on your sheet. When you think your sentence is complete, we will check it. If it's correct, you will be sent to hunt for an envelope that has the same number as your team. When all teams have returned with their sealed envelopes we will open them. If the sentence inside matches the one you wrote down, you may hunt for treasure right here in this room! Questions?
- Make sure each team has NRSV Bibles, pens & their 'Bible Geocaching Coordinates' sheet.
- Send each team to different areas to hunt for their words. Try to have one adult per team to ensure success!
- When teams have written their sentence down, check it & then give them a 'clue' about where their envelope is hidden.
- When all teams have returned, open the envelopes. If the sentence inside matches the one they wrote down, they may hunt for treasure. Let the team that returned first hunt first.
- Finish by discussing what Jesus said about true treasure in Matthew 6:19.
Lesson: God Hems Us In
Bible Verse: You hem me in, behind and before. Psalm 139:5
- Say: Did you know that wherever we are, God is right there with us? We just can’t see God. But if we could, where do you think God would be right now? Do you think God is sitting next to you? Which side? Do you think God is behind you or in front? (Let the children share ideas.)
- Did you know that God is absolutely everywhere? It says in the Bible that ‘God hems us in.’ That means that God kind of squashes us, on every side, even though we can’t see God. Let’s imagine that. Look up. God is there. Look down ...God’s right there! Look to your left. There God is! Look to your right! God is there too! Look ahead of you. There’s God. Look behind you…Hello God! You just can’t escape from God!
- Now let’s play a game. I’ll be God. It’s my job to be everywhere that you look, so if you look up, I’ll stand over you. If you look down, I’ll be lying down there! If you look to your left, you’ll see me. If you turn to your right, I’m going to quickly jump there. If you look behind, I’ll be at your back. If you look ahead, I’ll jump in front of you. Ready? Go!
- Have fun playing this. After, say, Phew that was hard work! I couldn’t do it! Maybe someone else wants to try. If you have time, let someone else try to be God.
- After playing, say, Phew! That really was hard work. I couldn’t do it! You couldn’t do it! We just can not be in every place at every time! But God can. And that’s what God does. So whenever you are lonely, or afraid, imagine God sitting right there next to you, on your right and on your left, in front and behind, above your head and underneath your feet. Because that’s where God is, all the time.
- Ask children to put their hands together and repeat each phrase of this prayer after you: Dear God. Thank you. That you are everywhere. On our left. On our right. You are above us. You are below us. You are ahead of us. And behind us. Help us to remember. That you have promised. Never to leave us. Amen.