Friday, July 29, 2016

God's Message if for All - Acts 10

Because this week was the Lebanon County Fair, half my kids were missing from club.  Yet, I am hearing that many did extremely well with their animals and other projects.  Unfortunately, I did not get to the fair this year.  My kids had dentist and eye doctor appointments. 

Although my groups were small, we had lots of fun.  Having smaller groups allow me to interact one on one with the kids that I can't do with large groups.  

This week's craft was prayer boxes from altroid and mento tins.  I had the paper pre-cut.  So the kids got to Modge Podge the paper to the tin.  Then decorate the paper with stickers before giving it a second coat of Modge Podge.  On the inside lid, they Modge Podge this poem, "When your head starts to worry, and your mind just can't rest, put your prayers down on paper, and let God do the rest."

For the playground activity we played Tenzie and/or Pass the Pigs (party version).  After having my Tuesday group almost lose their pigs, I decided to give each child a pie pan to roll their dice/pigs into.  What a difference that made.  No longer were we chasing pigs and dice all over the place.

In tent time, I introduced John 15:12.  We played a game called, "First Letter."  I had a child chose a letter that began one of the words in the verse.  I had pre-arranged an action for each letter (ie. T = jump, I = clap, and so on).  Then we said the verse, but when we got to a word that began with the chosen letter we said the word while doing the action.  Each time we added a new action, we still did the old actions.  Usually, we could do 5-6 different actions before we messed up.  The kids love this activity.

To introduce the Bible lesson, I gave a Bible Buck to everyone who had green eyes like mine (or just the girls).  It didn't take long before someone yelled, "Hey, that is not fair!"  Then said, "In today's Bible lesson, the Jews thought that God only loved them.  This is kinda of like me just giving Bible bucks to only those who have green eyes.  But lets see what God thought about this.  Then at the end of the lesson, when I re-emphasis that God loves the Jews and the Gentiles.  God loves everyone.  I gave a Bible Buck to the rest of the kids and told them I love them also.

We also FINALLY got out of Jerusalem.  As I pointed out Ceasarea and Joppa on the map, someone from each group asked if these towns were in Judea and Samaria.  I could have jumped for joy that they made the connection from Acts 1:8 (a previous memory verse) and today's lessons.  The answer to this question was YES.  The Gentiles (Romans) viewed both cities as in Judea with Ceasarea being the capital.  But to the Jews, Jerusalem was the capital.  Joppa was located in the northern part of Judea and Ceasarea was in Samaria. 

The kids loved naming the animals that Peter saw in the sheet.  They also enjoyed repeating what the angel told Cornelius to do.  "Send men to (Joppa).  Find (Peter), who is staying at Simon, the tanner, (who lives by the sea)."  When Peter finally understood that God wanted him to share the Gospel with Cornelius and his household, I used CEF flipper, flapper to share the gospel.  This was such a fun lesson to teach. 

Because it was so HOT this week, we played water games again.  I learned a new favorite game.  The kids got into teams for a relay.  The first person pick up a car sponge in the bucket of water and ran around the cone.  Then he squeezed the water out of the sponge on the next team member before throwing the sponge into the water bucket.  The kids got soaked, but they loved it. 

Our missionary story was about Valentinus, the courageous Christian man behind Valentine's Day who lived in third century Rome. We follow him as he went against the Roman emperor's edicts by performing secret marriage ceremonies in the woods and how he refused to worship Roman gods. We saw how he faithfully followed Christ, even to his death.

We have only one more week of Backyard Bible Club for 2016.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

God's Friend - Acts 6-7

Kids + Water = Fun, fun, fun

This week at Backyard Bible Club we played water games.  It always amazes me how it can be 90*F, yet you pour a cup of water over a kid's head and they are cold!?!  We did have a lot of fun this week.  Also every club learned the same lesson AND received the same Jerusalem Journal (God's Friend, Issue 6).  

This year the kids are learning memory verses.  Out of the 46 kids that have been in club so far this week, 29 could quote at least one verse!  In the Campbelltown group, ALL the kids this week could say at least one verse.  Way to go kids.  

This week's craft was a wordless bracelet.  This was an easier and simpler craft for the kids.  I did make the string a little long for some of the kids.  They had trouble keeping the bracelet on.  I used the bracelet as my Gospel visual.  I challenged them to tell someone about the colors of their bracelet sometime today. 

When they got finished with the bracelet, they could draw on the individual white boards.  This was a nice activity since it was so hot.  I had the kids write their names - fancy.  Some used bubble letter, calligraphy, etc.  Then I had them draw something they love doing during the summer time.  I quickly learned that swimming was a favorite activity.  I love seeing their creativity. 

During "tent time", we sang all eight of the Bible Verse songs.  This is one reason so many could quote a verse.  Somehow it is so much easier to memorize if  you put the words to music.  The kids love to sing Acts 1:8 "You will receive" by Faith Inkubators. 

This week's memory verse is Matthew 5:44 KJV.  I shared a story from Voice of the Martyr's December 2015 Newsletter about a 13 year old Nigerian boy who was able to forgive the men who attacked him and left him blind in one eye.  After discussing what the verse means we played "Clap-A-Word."  One kid had to stand behind the verse visual.  Another kid pointed to one of the words in the verse.  The entire group then said the verse, but clapped at the chosen word.  Then the kid who was standing behind the visual had to tell us what word we clapped for.  It was impressing how well the kids did since this was a very long verse.  

I used God's Witness: The Courage of Stephen by Voice of the Martyrs as my Bible lesson visual.  I don't often read a book as my Bible Lesson, but this book did such a nice job bringing out the idea that the Holy Spirit is the one who gave Stephen the courage to stand up for God even in the midst of persecution. 

After snacks, it was WATER TIME!!!!  I did a number of different water games with the different clubs.  But the all time favorite (they ask for this year after year) is Drip, Drip, Drop.  This game is a variation to Duck, Duck, Goose.  Kids sit in a circle.  One kid has a cup full of water.  As he walk around the circle, he drops a drip on each kid's head.  When he wants someone to chase him, he pours the ENTIRE cupful on the kid's head.  Then he runs around the circle in an attempt to reach the empty spot before getting tagged.  If he gets tag, his punishment is to sit still while the new "it" pours a full cup of water on his head.  Another requested water game is L,R,S.  We pass a water balloon around the circle while saying the memory verse.  Whoever is caught holding the balloon as we say the verse's address, then get to roll a dice with the letters L,R, OR S on it's side.  The letter's stand for Left, Right or Self.  Whatever letter is showing on top of the dice, that is the person who must sit while the water balloon is squeezed above their head.  The funny thing about this game is most of the time the person who is under the balloon does not get very wet.  Most of the time it is the one squeezing the balloon who gets wet. 

The review game (if we had time), was a file folder game. I made "doors" on a file folder and numbered them.  If a kid answered correctly, he got to choose a door to open.  I had positive and negative points under the different doors.  About 1/2 way through the review game, I flipped the point sheet over and closed all the doors.  On this sheet, there was no points, just give to the other team, double your points, divide your points in 1/2, etc.  It makes the game interesting as you never really know which team will win. 

We only have two more weeks of Backyard Bible Club.  Summer is flying by.  

Thursday, July 14, 2016

God's Children

This week for my Monday and Thursday clubs, I taught the lesson in last week's blog (God is Dishonored).  These kids received Jerusalem Journal Issue 4.

The Tuesday club learned about God's children.   This group received Jerusalem Journal Issue 5. Next week, all the clubs will be learning the same lesson. 

 Our craft this week was tea lights using baby food jars, tissue paper and Mod Podge.  I forgot the baby wipes (Oops!)  Fortunately, Campbelltown United Christian Church had a bowl, water and paper towels.  Although this is an easy, but messy craft, I love seeing the creativity.  Some kids are very particular of what colors and shapes of tissue paper they glue on their jars.  Other kids just grab tissue paper and glue.  Yet the finished project is always pretty. 

For playground time, we threw rice filled neck ties.  For a while, we just threw the ties back and forth.  Then, we saw who could throw their tie the farthest, who could hit a target, etc.  Finally, we played tag with just one tie.

 To make the neck tie snakes:

1.      Sew up tie about 1/8 from the wide end (so nothing will fall out of it).
2.      Sew the back of the tie close to create a tube.  The wide end of the tie will be filled with beans/rice/pellets. 

Instruct each child in the following procedures:
1.      Pour beans, rice or polypropylene pellets into the tie.
2.      Sew the wide end of the tie so that no beans, rice or pellets fall out.
3.      Cut a forked tongue out of the red felt.
4.      Sew or glue it to the wide “v” end of the tie.
5.      Sew or glue on a pair of eyes at the widest part of the tie.

To throw your snake:
1.      Hold snake by the tail.
2.      Swing your snake in a clockwise circle by your side.
3.      When the snake’s head points down, release your hands and watch it fly. 
* You can play catch with this toy or put a hoop on the ground for a target.  Just make sure you fly the snake in an open area. 

Our Memory Verse for this lesson is Matthew 5:16.  We played Crazy Stand ups to repeat this verse over and over again.  To play crazy stand ups, a kid will choose a card.  Each card describes who needs to stand up and say the verse.  A card might read, "Those who love watermelon, stand up and say the verse."  Or maybe, "Those who ate breakfast this morning, stand up and say the verse.  I usually have about seven to ten cards.  The kids make sure we do ALL the cards.  

I also used a neat Gospel Object lesson called "SEAS which help you SEE" (by Sam Doherty).  

You can use a large world globe if you have one, and point out the four seas as you speak about them. Or you could use a large map of the world. (I used a beach ball globe.)

I want to invite all boys and girls everywhere to accompany me for a long journey on board a ship called “Imagination.” In our good ship “Imagination” we will cruise over some of the real seas of the world, and try to learn some lessons from their names and colours. One good thing about this cruise is that we need not be afraid either of sea-sickness or shipwreck, for the good ship “Imagination” does not move. Now, then, all aboard!

First Stopping Place – Drop the anchor! Dear me, what a dreadful place! No trees, and no flowers! What is the name of this place?

Now, who knows where the Dead Sea is situated? It is in Israel; it is inland but our ship is a very special ship which can get right into this sea. This sea is called the Dead Sea because fish cannot live in its waters and plants cannot grow around it. The river Jordan flows into this sea, but nothing flows out of it, and so the sea not only remains dead itself but also puts to death every living thing near it.
The Dead Sea is a picture of sin, because the Bible tells us that, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6 v23). This sea is dead and so are we if we have not trusted the Lord Jesus as our Saviour. Sin always results in death - and the person who lives in sin will be separated from God forever and ever.

Second Stopping Place – Ah! Yes, this looks nicer. Let me see: What is its name?

Where can we find this sea? It is found between Russia and Turkey. It is called black because sometimes its waters are very dark. This is a very deep sea. At its center it is over 1000 meters deep.
I know that seas cannot speak but let us use our imagination and listen to this sea speak, “I am black or dark and so are you. I am a picture of sin – the darkness of sin.”  Yes! Sinners are not only dead, but are also dark. Sin not only kills, it also dirties.

Here is our third Stopping Place. It’s hotter at this sea! What is the name of
this sea? It is: 

This is a very good name to give it because it is so hot here. It might even be called the Red-hot Sea. Who knows where this sea is to be found? It lies midway between Africa and Arabia. The children of Israel passed through this sea when they were travelling from Egypt to Canaan. The colour red reminds us of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and the Blood He poured out as He died for our sin. He took the punishment for our sin so that we can be saved. So the Red Sea reminds us of what Jesus Christ did to save us from our deadness and darkness.

And now our fourth Stopping Place. After a long, dreary sail we reach:

It lies away north between Lapland and Russia. It probably owes its whiteness and its name to its being often covered with snow. The Bible tells us about a special prayer, “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51 v7). Would you like to pray that prayer today? If you ask the Lord Jesus to save you He will make you perfectly clean and white in the sight of God. 

What do these four seas teach us? They teach us that we are dead in sin, and black or dark through sin. But if we come to the Lord Jesus, Who poured out His blood for our sin and trust Him, our death will become life, and our darkness will become the whiteness and purity of Jesus Christ.

 Next came the Bible lesson from Acts 5:12-42.  The word of the day was "persecution".  The main point was "The Holy Spirit will give you courage, so speak up for God no matter what!"  Because this was a shorter lesson, I reviewed the previous lessons before going into Acts 5:12-42.  This helped the kids see the Holy Spirit giving the apostles power to speak in many different languages, the ability to heal the lame man, discern when someone was lying and now the boldness to speak up for God even in the midst of persecution.  The Holy Spirit really helps us live for Jesus every day.

This week, we played with the parachutes for group games.  We played two favorites (popcorn and Sharks & Lifeguards).  I love these pictures they are so colorful!  Since my Monday morning group is so large, my Mom made me an extra large parachute out of fabric table clothes  (bottom picture).  Tents and Events donated the table clothes. 

This week's missionary story was about John Bunyan. John spent 12 years in jail for preaching about Jesus in England.  While in jail, he also wrote "Pilgrim's Progress."  This story tied in well to today's Bible Lesson and word of the day.

Our review game was called Button, Button.  I took an egg carton and wrote point values in each hole.  Then I placed a button inside.  When a child answered a question correctly, they got to shake the carton.  When I opened the carton, their team got the points listed in the spot where the button was resting.  This is a simple, cheap, but fun game. 
Well, this was an overview of my Tuesday club.  I will only teach this lesson to this group.  Next week, all my clubs will learn about "God's friend" (Acts 6-7). 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

God is Dishonored - Acts 5

Because of July 4th, my two Monday clubs did not meet this week. I will be teaching "God's Work (Lame Man)" to my Thursday club.  After next week, all my clubs will be learning the same lesson.  So this lesson "God is Dishonored" was only taught to my Tuesday Club.  The other clubs will learn about this lesson next week, while the Tuesday Club has a mid-summer review week.

As the kids arrived, they went to Miss Jean to signed in, said memory verses and received Bible Bucks.  Then I got them started on T-Shirt Bags.  I got the idea from here:  I had everything pre-cut.  All the kids had to do was knot the bottom.  All, but my kindergartners were able to tie knots.  For the kindergartners, I tied the knot and they pulled it tight.  I used my sample bag later on when I taught the memory verse to show them how a Bible time farmer would sow seeds.

After the kids finished their bags, they were allowed to play various board games (ie. Mancala, Guess Who, Countdown, Sorry, Checkers, Connect Four, Battleship).  I have gathered a number of different games from local thrift stores. I found a Mancala game that used different color animal beads instead of colorful stones.  I think the kids had more fun playing with the animals than playing the game. The all time favorite was Guess Who.  I have three sets and they all got used!

At "tent time", we began with singing.  "That You May Believe" (John 20:31), "You Will Receive Power" (Acts 1:8), "Give Thanks" (1 Chronicles 16:8-9), Galatians 6:7 (to the tune Ring Around the Rosey), "Let Your Light shine" (Matthew 5:16) and Matthew 5:44 (to the tune Lord, I lift your name on high).  As you can see our songs are Bible Verses set to music.  I also put motions to many of the words using ASL.  By the end of the summer, most of the kids will know many if not all the memory verses we have worked on.

Because the Bible Lesson is directed at children who are saved, I like to give a Gospel object lesson.  This week, I used Five Simple Steps to Salvation.  I am sure this came from Child Evangelism Fellowship.  Step One:  Jesus Loves Me (John 3:16a); Step Two: I Am a Sinner (Romans 3:32); Step Three: Jesus Died for Me (Romans 5:8): Step Four: I Trust Him (Acts 16:31), Step Five: I Have Eternal Life (John 3:6).  I used the wordless book colored hearts with the different words written on them.  I had the kids say the words out loud for each step.  This group was very attentive for the object lesson.

Our Memory Verse for this lesson is Galatians 6:7 "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows."  My parents had their own business (before they sold it and retired two years ago).  One day in the course of business, they realized someone passed them two counterfeit dollar bills.  I used these counterfeit dollars to explain to the kids what it is to deceive someone.  Since the word "deceive" is in the memory verse and it is the word of the day for our lesson, this was a powerful illustration.  After showing the kids where to verse is found in God's Word (Bible) and explain what the verse means, we played "Verse Bounce".  I grouped the kids into three-four groups.  When I pointed to their group, they had to say the next word in the memory verse.  Then I chose a kid to be the director.

Our Bible Lesson is from Acts 4:32-5:14.  Ananias and Sappahira thought they could deceive the apostles and God into believing they were extremely generous when the sold land and gave the money to the apostles to use. The problem was they gave the appearance that they gave all the sale price, but in reality they only gave a portion of the sale price.  Because of their deception, God disciplined them severely.  They both died.  The early church learned that you can't deceive God.  I hope the kids learned this lesson also.

Then it was SNACK time!  This week, the kids got ice cream and rice krispie treats.  Some how to people signed up for snacks this week.  The kids sure didn't mind having to eat both snacks!

Group Games came next.  This group has been begging to play Kubbs.  I often play this game with my small groups (12 and less).  My youngest son and my father-in-law made the game for me about three years ago. The kids make the funniest expressions when they throw the sticks!

Then it was back into the tent for our missionary story.  This week's story was about Saint Nicholas. His story of courage and generosity in the face of persecution from the government and conflict within the church is for anyone and can be told anytime of the year. By any Christian definition, Nicholas was indeed a saint.  Under the cruel Roman emperor Diocletian, Nicholas was thrown in prison for refusing to deny Jesus as God. However, he did not deny Christ. Upon his release, he continued following in the footsteps of Christ through his unreserved giving and courage.  He later met further opposition, this time from the church. After Constantine took the throne, a false teaching began to invade the church. At a meeting of church leaders, Nicholas stood up for Christ and slapped the face of the man spreading the lies. For this, Nicholas could no longer be a leader in the church, but that didn’t stop him from going out of his way to share the love of Christ by helping children and others in need.

We concluded by playing "Zonk".  I divided the kids into two teams.  I asked them a question alternating between the two teams.  If a kid answered correctly, he could reach into a bag filled with orange and green bottle caps.  He could pull as many caps as he wanted, but if he pulled a green cap he lost all points and his turn was over.  The orange caps were worth 500 points.  It is fun to see who takes chances and who does not.

Before the kids leave, they can shop at the club store.  They earn Bible bucks in various ways.  They get a Bible Buck for coming to club, and for each memory verse they say each week.  We had a number of kids who could say all three verses we have worked on so far.  So they received 3 Bible bucks!  You get 5 Bible Bucks for inviting a friend and having them come to club.  And each week in the Jerusalem Journal there are coupons, contest, etc to earn more Bible Bucks.   I have discovered the kids love buying candy more than little trinkets/toys.  This week a lot of Bible Bucks were spent. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

God's Work (Lame Man)

This week the two evening Backyard Bible Clubs began!  Because Pentecost is such a key event in the book of Acts, my evening BBC had that lesson (God's Power), while my morning BBC continued with Acts 3-4 (God's Work).  In about 3 weeks, all the groups will be on the same lesson. 

This week the playground time and group game time was all about Frisbees.   I had set up a Frisbees golf course.  We had anywhere from 3 holes to 9 holes depending on my space. The kids teed off at the numbered cones.  The holes were numbered buckets. We had Frisbees flying all over the place.  One was even lost in the Rhubarb patch!  A number of years ago, I had crocheted a number of Frisbees.  These seemed to work the best AND didn't hurt if they hit someone.

Our craft for this lesson was a Lame Man Puppet. The kids colored the head, arms and feet with markers.  They loved using markers.  I had green faces and red faces and stripped arms!  Their favorite colored "bodies" were blue.  It is fun to see the creativity in the kids as they complete the crafts each week. 

Then it was "tent" time.  The kids are really getting the words and the motions to our songs.  I try to use American Sign Language as much as possible for the motions.  In fact this week, when we sang "Give Thanks" a student told me "When we do this (she should me the motion for thanks), that means thank you in sign language."  All of our songs this summer are
also Bible Verses.  And the kids are beginning to pick up on this fact.  This week's memory verse is 1 Chronicles 16:8-9.  The song that goes with this verse is "Give Thanks".  The memory verse activity we played this week was called "Which Direction?" I had a student roll the direction die.  Whatever direction was on top, that is the direction we needed to face as we said the verse.  I had about 6-7 students roll the die. 

This week's Bible lesson is found in Acts 3-4.  The words of the day were honor and miracle. The kids heard how Peter and John met a lame man while going to the temple in Jerusalem.  This man had never, ever walked AND he was over 40 years old.  He was sitting by the temple gate begging.  When Peter saw him, he said, "Silver and Gold have I none, but in the name of Jesus of Nazareth get up and walk."   Then he helped the man stand up.  When the man realized he could stand, he soon was walking, leaping and praising (honoring) God for performing a miracle in his life.  This commotion quickly drew a crowd.  Peter seeing the opportunity, preached a sermon to the crowd.  He gave God the honor for healing the lame man.  Then he told them about Jesus and how He wants to heal them from eternal death.  So just like the lame man and Peter, we need to honor God for what He has done in our lives. 

After snacks, we played some more Frisbee Games.  For my Monday Morning group, we played Frisbee Baseball.  It is played just like regular baseball, except the batter throws the frisbee instead of hitting a ball with a bat.  I was impressed how far the kids could throw.  Some of the best throwers were the younger kids!  For the rest of my groups we played, Frisbee Bocce.  The players form a line.  The first person rolls a tennis ball .  Each player then throws their Frisbee trying to land on the ball.  Whoever is closest to the ball gets 1 point.  If a player lands on the ball, they get 2 points.  We played until everyone had a chance to throw the ball.  For some of the groups, we also played Frisbee Dodgeball using my crocheted Frisbees. 

For the missionary story, we heard about William Tyndale. The Bible was originally written in Greek and Hebrew.  So how did it get translated into English?  William Tyndale went against King Henry VIII and the church leaders at the time, to give us the very first English translation.  Because it was against the law to translate the Bible into English, William had to flee to Europe to do his work.  He smuggled the English Bibles back into England through bales of cotton.  Although he was burned at the stake for his work, two years later King Henry VIII made a new law:  every church in England had to display an English Bible.  So William Tyndale's life was not lived in vain. 

Our review game was called "Give and Take".  The students were divided into teams.  I asked a question to the first child in line of one of the teams.  If they answered correctly, they could turn over a red and blue cap.  The red cap had point values on them.  The blue caps either said "give" or "take".  If it said "take", then that student would take the points for his team.  If the cap said "Give" then the students would give the points to the other team.  The team with the most point won.  Those team members each received a Bible Buck. 

After club, the students got a chance to spend their Bible Bucks at the Club Store.