No Leftover Thanks Object Lesson

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving This is a great object lesson for the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

No Leftover Thanks

Verse:  Ephesian 5:20 (ICB)  Always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Supplies Needed: Tupperware Containers

Read the verse and talk about how important it is to always give God thanks. Thanksgiving to God is more important than even eating Thanksgiving dinner.

Say this in your own words:

How many of you have some of these containers in your refrigerator? I always have lots of leftovers after Thanksgiving. Name some leftovers you might have. There’s one thing I don’t have leftover from Thanksgiving though. Thanksgiving is a day set aside to thank God for his blessings. But we shouldn’t give God thanks only on Thanksgiving. When we do that, it’s like serving God leftover thanks. We should thank God every day for his blessings. 

History of the Pilgrims

 Thanksgiving is coming soon, and most children’s pastors have special Thanksgiving services planned. One thing I have always done on Thanksgiving is to teach the children about America’s spiritual heritage ingrained in the Pilgrims and Puritans. These are some of the facts that children are not taught in school.

Most children are taught that pilgrims came to America to flee religious persecution. That’s not exactly true. Pilgrims and Puritans were persecuted for believing that Christians could have a personal relationship with Jesus separate from the Church of England. But they traveled to Holland to flee the persecution, not America.

So why did they travel to America? There were many reasons, but the main reason is they felt compelled by God to come to America and establish a colony of people that honored God. Many called this colony, New Jerusalem, believing that God had established this new land to spread the gospel to the world. William Bradford wrote in his journal that the motivation came from “a great hope for advancing the kingdom of Christ.”

Pilgrims and Puritans were not the same. Pilgrims were separatists who believed they should separate themselves for the Church of England and the world systems. Puritans believed in working within the system. When they came to America, Puritans wished to set up the government so that religious freedom of expression would be established. Pilgrims wanted freedom of religion so they were free to worship without fear of persecution. Both Pilgrims and Puritans wanted freedom of religion to protect the church from the government, not to protect the government from the church.

Many schools teach that Thanksgiving was a secular celebration. But letters written by the Pilgrims tell a different story. God was such a part of their everyday life that they included God in everything. One such letter states that Thanksgiving was a celebration called so that “God be praised” for what He had brought them through.

John Winthrop called New England a City on a Hill in one of his sermon. He, as well as many other Puritans and Pilgrims, believed they had made a covenant with God to be a new nation that was a model of Christianity to the world. William Bradford believed that America was called to spread the gospel to the world. Since the Pilgrims and Puritans came to America, the United States of America has sent missionaries to more nations and more remote places in the world than any other nation on Earth. Could it be they were right?

Kids Entering God’s Presence Part 2 – Enter His Gates With Thanksgiving


Psalms 100:4   Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.

Psalm 95:2  Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

There are a lot of great ways to start children’s church. Some children’s ministries show countdowns and have fast-paced music playing. Some make sure children are excited with a high energy game. Still others love to have the children sing high energy activity songs.

All of these are great ways to start a children’s service and to get the wiggles out. In fact, Psalm 95:2 says we should enter His presence by making a joyful noise. But whatever we do, we need to make sure it’s for the glory of God.

So if we play a game, it should have something to do with the message that day or we might want to forget the game. Whatever activity songs we sing or activities we do should make a joyful noise and glorify God or we need to remove them from our programs.

Some children’s pastors at this point might gasp. “No game.” Breathe deeply. It will be all right. You don’t have to have a game in children’s church every week if you can’t think of a game that goes with that week’s message. You could even save your game bag for the end of service in case the pastor preaches longer than usual. It will be all right.

But there’s more to these Scriptures than making a joyful noise. You’ll also want to enter God’s presence with thanksgiving. Here’s a few ways you can incorporate thanksgiving into the beginning of your children’s service.

Prayer: Every children’s service or event should open in prayer. Make sure to thank God for the children in your children’s church during prayer time. If a child prays, have him or her thank God for bringing the children to children’s church.

Thanksgiving Song: Sometimes you might want to add a song of thanksgiving to your activity songs. One song that could be used is Bonkers” by Uncle Charlie (Made 2 Praise Vol. 11), but there are a lot of others. This isn’t necessary every week, but it’s a good idea from time to time.

Thanksgiving Lesson: Lessons on thanksgiving shouldn’t only happen at Thanksgiving.

Beanbag of Thanksgiving: Another way to have the children thank God is to have a beanbag of thanksgiving. Throw the beanbag to a few children during this part of the service. Any child who catches it must tell something he thanks God for. Remind children that this is a time for thanksgiving not prayer requests.

Thank God For Children: At the end of the Beanbag of Thanksgiving or during some time near the beginning of the service, you should thank God out loud for the children under your care. You can say something like this. “Scripture says children are a reward from the Lord, and blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. So I thank God for all of you. You are my reward from God.” This not only shows the children you’re thankfulness, but it gives them the assurance that God considers them a blessing when the world sometimes considers children a curse.

At this point, you’ll be ready to enter His courts with praise. I’ll blog more about that, next time.

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