Valentines Week Sermon: The Heart Test

This message comes from 1 Samuel 16:7:  …God does not see the same way people see. People look at the outside of a person, but the Lord looks at the heart.

Tell the story of 1 Samuel 16 in your own words. Then talk about how David became king because he had a heart for God. God cares more about us having a heart for Him than he does about how you look, or how talented or popular you are. God chose David because of his heart. In 1 Samuel 13:14, God calls David a man after His own heart.

This Valentine’s Day, challenge your children to have a heart for God by giving them “The Heart Test”.

Have you asked Jesus into your heart?

When you look for me with all your heart, you will find me. (Jeremiah 29:13 NIRV)

You can’t have a heart for God unless Jesus is living inside your heart.

What you say shows if you have a heart for God.

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.   A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”    (Matthew 12:34-35 NKJV)

If you say things that please God and help people, that shows you have a heart for God. If you say mean things or curse, you might not have a heart for God.

What you spend your time and money on shows if you have a heart for God?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21 NKJV)

If you have a heart for God, you’ll want to spend time with Him and you’ll want to give to Him and others.

Are you passionate for the things of God or lukewarm?

So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.   (Revelation 3:16 NKJV)

God wants us to be excited about praising Him, reading our Bibles, going to church, and praying.

Do You Live In Sin and Unbelief?

So brothers, be careful that none of you has an evil, unbelieving heart. This will stop you from following the living God.    (Hebrews 3:12 ICB)

If we have a heart for God, we won’t want to sin or doubt anything in God’s Word.

Check the Word to see what is in your heart?

God’s word is alive and working. It is sharper than a sword sharpened on both sides. It cuts all the way into us, where the soul and the spirit are joined. It cuts to the center of our joints and our bones. And God’s word judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts.    (Hebrews 4:12 ICB)

If you are still not sure if you have a heart for God, ask God to show you through the Bible.

Do you follow the most important commandment?

 

Love the Lord your God. Love him with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. (Mark 12:30 ICB)

Challenge your students to make a commitment to love God with all their heart.

The Only One That Can Stop You Object Lesson

Ages: K-6th Grade

Purpose: Children will learn that they are the only ones who can stop God from fulfilling His will for their lives

Scriptures:

LORD of Heaven’s Armies has spoken–who can change his plans? When his hand is raised, who can stop him? Isaiah 14:27 (NLT)

For I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4;13 (NIV)

Supplies:

  • Shoe box with a lid
  • Small mirror

Preparation: Place the mirror face up in the shoe box, and close the lid.

Presentation:

Read either Scripture. Tell the students that nothing can stop God plans for you. It doesn’t matter what home they were born in or who their parents are. It doesn’t matter if their smart enough or talented enough to do what God has planned for you. Give examples of some bad things that happen in children’s lives, and talk about how even those things can’t stop God’s plans.
Tell your students about something bad that happened to you and how that didn’t stop God’s plan for you.

Even the devil can’t stop God’s plans for them because God is stronger than the devil. But there is one thing that can stop God’s plans.

Tell the students that you have the image of that one thing. You’ll let each child come up and look in the box if they promise not to tell what they saw. Have each child, one at a time, come up and look in the box.

Ask the students what they saw when they looked in the box. God is more powerful than circumstances, people, and even the devil. But He allows us to choose. He has a plan for our lives. I am the only one that can stop God’s plan for my life, and you are the only one who can stop God’s plan for your life.

Veteran’s Day Lesson – What a Hero Looks Like

Saluting soldier. Young boyOn Veteran’s Day, we honor our military heroes who have fought for freedom. These men and women are warriors who fight against evil. Today, I’m going to tell you a story recorded in the Bible about another warrior who became a hero. His name was King David. King David shows us what a hero looks like and how we can become heroes of the faith.

Do what’s right. David was responsible for the sheep in his father’s field before he became a warrior or a king. Even though it was hard work, David took care of the sheep and did what was right when nobody else was looking. What right things can you do when nobody is looking?

Difficulties prepare us for greater challenges. Before David became famous for fighting Goliath, he had some difficult things happen in his life. Once while he was watching the sheep, a bear tried to attack. David killed the bear with his slingshot. Another time, he killed a lion with a slingshot. When David faced Goliath, he was prepared because of the times he had to fight the lion and the bear. When you go through hard times, ask God to help you through them in a way that will prepare you for the future.

Heroes have convictions and beliefs based on God’s Word. David was treated unfairly many times throughout his life. King Saul, the man who was king before David, was jealous of David and tried to kill him many times. David hadn’t done anything wrong, but he had to run for his life. King Saul was unfair to David, but David still treated Saul the way God’s Word said. David showed the king love and respect. When you’re treated unfairly, do you do what God’s Word says and treat people like you want to be treated?

Heroes help others. When David was king, he did what he could to help others. Once he had his men search for his friend’s crippled son so that he could invite him to the palace and treat him like royalty.

Heroes have the courage to repent and fix what they’ve done wrong. David wasn’t perfect. He did some very bad things. He even stole the wife of another man. But when he was confronted, David had the courage to confess his sin and take the consequences.

Heroes are honest even when under pressure. When David was running from King Saul, he found Saul alone in a dark cave. David cut a piece of Saul’s robe. The next morning, David told Saul what he’d done. The king could have killed him, but he was still honest. Saul felt bad and stopped pursuing him because he told the truth. Do you tell the truth even when it is hard.

Heroes resist temptation. David helped a man named Nabal by keeping robbers away from his sheep, but Nabal wouldn’t even give his men food and lodging. David could have attacked Nabal, but he resisted the temptation and left Nabal alone. What temptations do you need to resist?

Heroes do more than required. Heroes honor others by doing more than expected. David honored God by bringing the ark God’s way. He went the extra mile.

We can all become heroes of the faith, but like David, we need God to help us. The most important thing David did to become a hero was to spend time with God and to rely on God.

God’s Word – Your GPS Children’s Object Lesson

This object lesson/message is from Revival Fire for Kids curriculum, Building Foundations, available in March. Italics are used for when the teacher speaks.

Supplies needed: GPS, map, Bible

49-1013tm-cart-travelHold up the Bible. Explain that the Bible is like a GPS for life. It guides us through decisions we make.

Hold up the map. Talk about how when you were young, they didn’t have GPSs. People had to use maps. It was difficult because first you would have to find out where you were on the map. Then you’d have to figure out how to get where you were going. Demonstrate. Sometimes maps didn’t work well because the roads would change or there might be a road that was closed, and the map didn’t show it. Unfold the map and show how difficult it would be to use while driving.

8-1013tm-cart-travelI’m glad we don’t use maps anymore. The GPS is much easier to use.

If you’re lost, you can press “Go Home” and the GPS will guide you every step until you’re home. If you’re spiritually lost, you can turn to John 3:16 or the book of Romans, and the Bible will guide you on how to be saved.

If you don’t know which way to turn, the GPS will let you know when to turn right and when to turn left. If we don’t know which way to turn in life, we can pray and read God’s Word, and it will guide us by giving us wisdom on which way to go.

If there is road construction or congestion up ahead, a GPS will warn the driver. In the same way, God’s Word warns us away from danger.

If we want to go in a certain destination, we plug the address into the GPS. The Bible also has addresses.

The Bible is divided into two major sections. The Old Testament is at the beginning, and the New Testament is at the end. Each section is divided into smaller section with books. In the Bible, an address contains the book of the Bible, the chapter, and the verse. You can find anything using these addresses.

As great as a GPS is, it won’t do you any good unless you turn it on. In the same way, God’s Word won’t guide your life unless you read it and learn what it says.

A GPS plugs into a charger so the battery won’t die. When you read and study God’s Word, you’ll want to plug into a spiritual charger by asking God to help you understand what He is saying in God’s Word and how to apply it to your life.

Are We On God’s Side?

Here’s a Bible story you can use for your Independence Day lesson.

Have two children be team leaders and take turns picking their teams. At this point, you can have a relay race or play another game with two teams.

Ask the children who were picked this question. When you were picked for team leader A’s team or team leader B’s team, were you on their team or were the leaders on your team?

Joshua 5:13-14(ICB)  Joshua was near Jericho. He looked up and saw a man standing in front of him. The man had a sword in his hand. Joshua went to him and asked, “Are you a friend or an enemy?”  The man answered, “I am neither one. I have come as the commander of the Lord’s army.” Then Joshua bowed facedown on the ground. He asked, “Does my master have a command for me, his servant?”

Tell the story (a condensed version) about how Joshua and the children of Israel were commanded to take the promised land in your own words. You can find the story in Joshua 1-5. Joshua obeyed God and sent spies to the city of Jericho. Then Israel marched across the Jordan river on dry ground.

Israel was God’s nation, and they were doing what God wanted, yet the night before the battle, an angel appeared and said he wasn’t on Joshua’s side. He was on God’s side. That meant if Joshua followed God and was on God’s side, he would all right. But if he didn’t follow God, it wouldn’t matter if God had been for Israel in the past.

We’re celebrating the birthday of our nation. The United States of America started as a nation under God. Most of the founding fathers served God.

Even though our nation has been founded on God, that doesn’t mean God is for the United States. God will bless the United States as our country does right and follows after Him.

No nation can claim that God is on our side. As a nation, we should be on God’s side.

But that’s true of people as well. Just because you are a Christian and go to church doesn’t mean God is on your side. But if you are on God’s side, He will fight for you and bless you. Here’s how to be on God’s side.

Joshua 1:7-9(ICB)  Be strong and brave. Be sure to obey all the teachings my servant Moses gave you. If you follow them exactly, you will be successful in everything you do.  Always remember what is written in the Book of the Teachings. Study it day and night. Then you will be sure to obey everything that is written there. If you do this, you will be wise and successful in everything.  Remember that I commanded you to be strong and brave. So don’t be afraid. The Lord your God will be with you everywhere you go.”

Be strong and brave. Sometimes it’s hard to do the right thing. Other kids will make fun of you. Bullies pick on you. Sometimes even teachers, celebrities, and politicians tell you that what is right is wrong and what is wrong is right. But if you want to do the right and be on God’s side, be brave and do the right thing anyway.

Obey God. It’s sometimes easier to do what we want than to do what God wants. But if we want to be on God’s side, we will obey Him.

Learn what God’s Word says. What other people say isn’t as important as what God says. His Word, the Bible, is truth. To be on God’s side, learn what it says.

Remember God is with you. When you’re on God’s side, you don’t have to be afraid because God is always with you. He will never leave you.

I want to be on God’s side.

Independence Day Object Lesson – Equipped for Battle

This is a great object lesson for Independence Day or whenever you’re teaching on spiritual warfare.

Equipped For Battle

Supplies Needed: A picture of soldiers similar to this one, Spiritual armor objects or picture.

Next week, we celebrate the birth of our nation. In order the the United States to become a nation, we had to fight for our freedom.

What is some of the equipment a soldier needs when he goes into battle? Give the children a chance to answer before giving suggestions.

Suggestions: uniform, google for night vision, gas mask, food, water, blankets, backpack, guns, bullets, tanks, jeeps, grenades, etc.

The Bible tells us of another kind of warfare. This warfare is spiritual and every Christian is involved in it. Just as every soldier needs equipment when he goes into battle, we Christians need equipment for spiritual battle.

Ephesians 6:10-18 lists the equipment we need. As you mention each piece of armor, show a picture of it or illustrate it with an object. Here’s a link where you can download a free Armor of God Chart for signing up for emails.

Belt of Truth: Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. When we put on the belt of truth, we live the truth.

Breastplate of Righteousness: When we ask Jesus to forgive our sins, He makes us right before Him.

Shoes of the Readiness of the Gospel of Peace: When we are ready to do what God says, we’ll have peace of God in our lives.

Shield of Faith: When we place our faith in Jesus, He will protect us against the devil’s lies.

Helmet of Salvation: We need to protect our minds by thinking the way God wants us to think.

Sword of the Spirit: The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God – the Bible. The Bible defeats our spiritual enemies. That’s why it’s important to learn what it says and to obey it.

Prayer: The last weapon God gives us is prayer. After we’ve put on all of the armor, if we pray, God will fight our battles for us, and we will be fully equipped soldiers ready for spiritual battle.

Independence Day Lesson for Children’s Ministry

logo_bible_cross_starsstripes_FINWith Independence Day less than two  weeks away, Sunday would be a great time to teach children that the United States was founded on Christian principles.

 

Some Facts about our Founding Fathers:

Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence. Twenty-four of them held seminary or Bible school degrees.

In 1777. Continental Congress voted to spend $300,000 to purchase bibles which were to be distributed throughout the 13 colonies! And in 1782, the United
States Congress declared, “The Congress of the United States recommends and
approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.”

On March 6, 1789, President John Adams called for a national day of fasting and
prayer for the country could “call to mind our numerous offenses against the
most high God, confess them before Him with the sincerest penitence, implore his pardoning mercy, through the Great Mediator and Redeemer, for our past
transgression, and that through the grace of His Holy Spirit, we may be disposed
and enabled to yield a more suitable obedience. . .”

Patrick Henry read the Bible for hours every day. During his “Give me liberty or give me death” speech, he quoted Matthew and Jeremiah.

In his first general order to his own troops, General George Washington said he called on: ‘Every officer and man…to live, and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country.’

Verses about a Nation’s Responsibility Toward God:

Psalm 33:12 ICB  Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord. Happy are the people He chose for His very own.

Proverbs 11:14  ICB  Without leadership a nation will be defeated. But when many people give advice, it will be safe.

Proverbs 14:34  ICB  Doing what is right makes a nation great. But sin will bring disgrace to any people.

Pledge To the United States Flag:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Pledge to the Christian Flag:

I pledge allegiance to the Christian Flag and to the Savior for whose Kingdom it stands. One Savior, crucified, risen, and coming again with life and liberty to all who
believe.

Pledge to the Bible:

I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God’s Holy Word, I will make it a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path and will hide its words in my heart that I might not sin against God.

A Christian’s Responsibilities to our Nation:

Obey God first.  Acts 5:29 NRSV  But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.”

Obey Our Leaders and the Law.  Romans 13:1 ICB   All of you must obey the government rulers. No one rules unless God has given him the power to rule. And no one rules now without that power from God.

Pray For Our Leaders. 1 Timothy 2:1 ICB  You should pray for kings and for all who have authority. Pray for the leaders so that we can have quiet and peaceful lives—lives full of worship and respect for God.

Ascension of Jesus Children’s Church Lessons

This Thursday, May 14th, is the day we celebrate the Ascension of Jesus. That means this Sunday is the perfect time to teach a lesson on it. Here are a few online resources to help:

Lesson: Apostles Witness Jesus’ Ascension

Ascension of Jesus Object Lesson

Bible Fun For Kids – Jesus Has Lunch on the Shore and Goes to Heaven

Ascension of Heaven Verse Maze

Sermon for Kids – Up, Up, and Away

Ascension of Jesus Word Search

Faith Formations – Sermon on Ascension of our Lord

Children’s Lessons about Esther and the Feast of Purim

This Thursday and Friday is the time that the Jewish people celebrate the Feast of Purim. They honor Esther and remember how she saved the Jewish people. I can think of no better time to teach about Esther during mid-week classes or children’s church.

The story of Esther is found in the Book of Esther in the Old Testament. The main theme and verse from the Book of Esther is found here:

Esther 4:14 (NIV)  For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?

What a powerful statement for our time. Children need to learn that they were created by God in this time and in the family they were born for an important purpose. Some day, they may need to make a stand as Esther did and risk something to obey God.

One fun thing you can do is have a Purim carnival where everyone dresses up as kings and queens and parades through the church or neighborhood. The children could make banners that say “For Such a Time as This”, and they could carry streamers and noisemakers.

Here are a few online lessons for teaching about Esther:

Created for a Purpose

Esther Bible Lesson for Preschoolers

Esther the Queen Bible Activities

Free Bible Lesson – Esther

Church House Collection: Queen Esther

Pinterst – Esther

If you would like to do a series on Esther, here are a couple of online teachings:

Bible Study Planet:

Esther Bible Lessons For Children:

Teaching Children about Heaven and Hell

Too many children’s pastors teach children about salvation and spending eternity in Heaven, but they leave something out. Jesus taught that those who accept Him as their Savior and follow Him will go to Heaven. But He also taught those who don’t accept Him will go to Hell. Unless we expect our students to all die before the age of accountability, we need to teach both.

On the other hand, scare tactics that convince children they might go to Hell if they snatch an extra cookie for dessert are not helpful in giving children a Biblical foundation.

Here are some things to keep in mind when teaching children about Heaven and Hell.

Heaven and Hell are real places.

John 14:2-3  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Revelation 20:15  And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

This is important because our society has such a misconception of Heaven and Hell, that children might get confused. The Bible teaches Heaven and Hell are real places where everyone will spend eternity.

God doesn’t want anyone to go to Hell.

Revelation 20:10  And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Hell was created for the devil and his demons. God doesn’t want anyone to go to Hell. That’s why He provided a way of escape, so that no one has to go there.

You can’t go to Heaven by being good.

Romans 3:23  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Many people have the false assumption that if they are good people, they will go to Heaven, and bad people will go to Hell. This isn’t true. Nobody is good enough for Heaven. Everyone deserves Hell.

Jesus died on the cross so we can go to Heaven and escape Hell.

John 3:16-18  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Children should be taught that Jesus is the only way to salvation and to Heaven. If a child has accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior, he is saved and will go to Heaven.

Getting right with God so we can go to Heaven is the most important thing in life.

Matthew 10:28  And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

This is a great opportunity to teach about martyrs of the Faith. Teach the children that these martyrs understood that serving God and going to Heaven is more important than even living. If that’s true, then our entire lives should be spent serving God.

We need to share the Gospel so people won’t go to Hell.

Revelation 20:15  And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

When we teach children who know Christ as their Savior about Heaven and Hell, the next step is to teach them they need to share the truth with others. Anyone whose name is not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, will go to Hell.

Here are some online children’s lessons on Heaven and Hell:

Heaven Sunday School Lesson

Kid’s Sunday School Place – Heaven

Heaven and Hell Airplane Trick

The Rich Man and Lazarus