Category Archives: Apostles

Would You Die for a Lie? (LESSON)


 

Time

30 minutes

 

Description

This lesson makes the case to prove Jesus’ resurrection by stressing the commitment of the apostles to defending it as truth.  Aside from Judas, they were all eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection, and ten of them died a martyr’s death because they wouldn’t renounce it. (All the gory details about the martyrdom of the Apostles is provided in this lesson, but care should be given to the age of the children when deciding how much information to share.)

 

Scriptures

  • Acts

 

Materials

  • The following supporting materials can be found at www.teachingthem.comon the Lesson and Material Downloads page.
    • “Would You Die for a Lie? – Apostles Faces” (Pictures of the Apostles that volunteers can hold up while you tell about them.)
    • “Would You Die for a Lie? – Where the Apostles Preached” (A PowerPoint slide that shows a map of Europe, Africa and the Middle East and all the places that the Apostles took the Good News.)
  • Computer, LCD projector and screen (to show the map)
  • Paint stir sticks or large Popsicle sticks (12)
  • Paper plates (12)
  • Glue

 

Preparation

  • Print apostle face pictures.
  • Glue pictures to paper plates and then to paint stir sticks to make handles.
  • Put these face pictures near the front of your teaching area, where you can easily reach them.
  • Set up projector and screen and get the map ready to project.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

Use the following script, or modify to suit your needs:

  • “Do you ever wonder what happened to the twelve apostles who followed Jesus?”
  • “Well, the Bible only tells us about a few of them.”
  • “Most of what we know comes from historians who wrote about the time of Jesus and the beginning of the Christian Church.”
  • “So, here’s what we know.”  (Project the map in the file, “Would You Die for a Lie? – Where The Apostles Preached.”  Invite 12 volunteers to come up, and hand them the face signs you created. Have them hold the signs up to cover their faces.  Line them up in this order: James (the Greater), Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew (Nathanael), Matthew, Thomas, James, Simon, Thaddeaus, Judas, John, Peter.  As you tell about each man’s martyrdom, have the volunteer take a seat.)
  • “It all started in this tiny piece of land, called Israel.”  (Indicate Israel on the map.)
  • “Can you believe how small that is?” (Point out Africa, Europe and the Middle East on the map so that the kids will get an idea for where Israel is in relation to them.)
  • “Jesus trained 12 Apostles to take the good news (the Gospel) to all the world.”
  • “The Apostles took their job (the Great Commission) seriously, as you will see!”
  • “Let’s start with James – he was one of the ‘Sons of Thunder’ and one of Jesus’ closest friends on earth, but he became the first Apostle to become a martyr – which is a person who dies for what they believe.”
    • “Herod Agrippa I had James arrested, and when he saw that the Jewish leaders hated James, he had him beheaded.”
    • “This made Herod so popular that he thought he might do the same thing to Peter, but Peter was freed from Herod’s jail by an angel.”
    • “So, James didn’t travel to any of the other places on the map.” (Have volunteer take a seat.)
  • “But then there was Andrew– he was the Apostle who was always bringing people to Jesus.”
    • “He brought Peter, he brought the young boy with the loaves and the fishes, and he brought some Greeks to Jesus.”
    • “After Jesus rose to heaven, Andrew took the Gospel (which is the “good news” about Jesus) north into Russia and then into Scotland.”  (Advance slide.)
    • “After angering a Roman governor by leading his wife to Christ, he was crucified in Greece on an X-shaped cross.”
    • “Instead of nailing him to the cross, they tied him to it so that it would take longer for him to die.” (Have volunteer take a seat.)
  • “Philip – he publically doubted that Jesus could feed the 5,000.”
    • Eight years after James was put to death, Philip was stoned to death at Hierapolis in Asia Minor.” (Advance slide, and have volunteer take a seat.)
  • “Bartholomew – he ministered in Persia, India and Armenia, and tradition says that he was tied up in a sack and thrown into the sea.” (Advance slide, and have volunteer take a seat.)
  • “Matthew – he was a tax collector and the most hated of all Jews, but after following Jesus, he wrote his Gospel for the Jewish people.”
    • Though we don’t have reliable records, it is believed that Matthew ministered in Ethiopia, Persia, the kingdom of the Parthians, Macedonia and Syria.”  (Advance slide.)
    • We think he was burned at the stake.” (Have volunteer take a seat.)
  • “Thomas – he was the Apostle who doubted that Jesus had returned from the grave and said he would have to put his finger into the nail scars before he believed, but when Jesus appeared to him, he made the strongest proclamation that Jesus is God.  (“My Lord and my God!”)”
    • Thomas carried the Gospel to India, and he died when he was run through with a spear.” (Advance slide, and have volunteer take a seat.)
  • “James, the Less – we think that James took the Gospel to Syria and Persia, but we are not entirely sure how he died.” (Advance slide.)
    • “It was either by stoning, beating or crucifixion.” (Have volunteer take a seat.)
  • “Simon, the Zealot – he started as a dangerous terrorist, who probably participated in attacks on the Romans and on tax collectors, but after following Jesus, his heart was changed.”
    • He took the Gospel to Egypt and as far as the British Isles and was killed for his beliefs, though we don’t know how.” (Advance slide.)
    • “Some say crucifixion; some say beheading.” (Have volunteer take a seat.)
  • “Thaddaeus – his name means something like “momma’s boy,” but he really grew up while following Jesus.”
    • We think he took the Gospel to Mesopotamia, near Turkey, and he once healed the king of the city of Edessa.”  (Advance slide.)
    • He was also said to have preached in Iran, and he was clubbed to death for his faith in Beirut, Lebanon.” (Have volunteer take a seat.)
  • “Judas, the Traitor – He never believed that Jesus was God, so Judas has the saddest story of all.”
    • He sold Jesus for thirty pieces of silver and then had an attack of his conscience.”
    • He hung himself from a weak tree limb that broke and dropped him on some jagged rocks, where his guts spilled out.”
    • Out of the Twelve, he was the only one who died for his lack of faith.” (Have volunteer take a seat.)
  • “John – he was James’ brother and another ‘Son of Thunder.’”
    • “He, too, was one of Jesus’ closest friends on earth.”
    • “He is actually the only apostle who wasn’t killed for his faith in Jesus.”
    • “He lived many years, but it had to be sad for him to hear that all his closest friends were killed.”
    • “John pastored a church in a city called Ephesus in Asia Minor, but then the Roman Emperor Domitian got angry with him and sent him to live on an island for prisoners (Patmos off the west coast of Turkey).” (Advance slide.)
    • “He had to live in a cave, but there he was able to do some writing.”
    • “During his lifetime, he wrote one of the Gospels, three letters that we find in the Bible and the last book of the Bible (Revelation), which tells about when Jesus will come again.”
    • “John eventually died of old age.” (Have volunteer take a seat.)
  • “And finally, there was Simon-Peter– he had the most dramatic transformation after following Jesus.”
    • “Simon eventually earned his name that means ‘listens and obeys.’”
    • “And he also earned his name of Peter, which means ‘rock,’ because Peter became a solid leader who led the early church.”
    • “Peter preached powerfully at Pentecost (a Jewish holiday celebrating the harvest of the crops) and led 3,000 people to the Lord.”
    • “He was so powerful spiritually that people were healed when just his shadow fell on them.”
    • “He raised Dorcas from the dead, introduced the Gentiles (non-Jewish people) to the Gospel and wrote two books of the New Testament.”
    • “He eventually went to Rome, Italy, and witnessed to the Roman emperor, Nero.” (Advance slide.)
    • “Peter and his wife were both crucified for their beliefs, but Peter begged to be crucified upside down, because he didn’t feel worthy to die in the same way Jesus did.” (Have volunteer take a seat.)
  • “So, that’s what became of all of them.”
  • “John was exiled; Judas killed himself and the other ten were put to death because they claimed that Jesus is God.”
  • “Don’t worry, though.  God isn’t asking all of us to die for our faith.”
  • “The Apostles were so powerful that God’s enemy, the Devil, fought very hard against them.”
  • “God protected each of them for a long time, but there came a time in each of their lives that they had completed the work God had for them to do.”
  • “When it came time, they each decided that they wanted to give God as much glory as they could when they died.”
  • “By dying for their belief in Jesus, they told the world that He is really God.”
  • “Let me ask you a question.  If you told a lie, and someone powerful said that you either had to admit you were lying or they would kill you, what would you do?” (Listen for response.)
  • “You wouldn’t die for a lie, would you?”
  • “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘I wouldn’t die for a lie!’”
  • “No, just like me, you would admit that you had lied so that you could go on living.”
  • “Well, the people who killed these men accused them of lying about Jesus.”
  • “They demanded that the Apostles admit they were lying about Jesus being God or else they would be put to death.”
  • “But these men chose to let people kill them rather than admit they were lying about Jesus.”
  • “Why do you think that was?” (Expected response: “They weren’t lying!”)
  • “Right!  They weren’t lying!”
  • “These men didn’t die for a lie.”
  • “Nobody is dumb enough to do that!”
  • “They died for the Truth!”
  • “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘They died for the Truth!’”
  • “They let themselves be put to death, because they knew that death was not the end of their story.”
  • “They knew that it was just the beginning!”
  • “They knew that death was just the end of their physical life on earth, and they were looking ahead to what Jesus promised them – eternal life with Him in heaven.”
  • “Probably none of us will have to die for the Truth that Jesus is alive and Lord of all creation.”
  • “But there are sooooooo many people out there that don’t know the Truth.”
  • “We’ve got to be like the Apostles and tell them about Jesus.”
  • “Don’t let them die believing a lie!”
  • “Tell them the Truth – Jesus is alive!  He loves them, and if they will follow Him, they can live with Him forever in heaven!”
  • “So don’t let them die believing a lie.”
  • “Touch three people and say, ‘I won’t let them die believing a lie.’”  (You can use the Rhyme Time below to reinforce the lesson’s teaching point.)

 

Rhyme Time

The Apostles died,

But we don’t grieve.

They gave their lives

So we’d believe!

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Filed under Apostles, Belief, Commitment, Disciples, Easter, Evangelism, faith, Great Commission, Jesus, Resurrection

Let Go and Let God (LESSON)


 

Time

15 minutes

 

Description

This lesson teaches that faith is about letting go of our problems and letting God handle them.  It uses the story about Jesus feeding the 5,000 and highlights the faith of the little boy who was willing to give everything he had so that Jesus could work a miracle.

 

Scriptures

  • John 6:1-13

 

Materials

  • Vanilla wafers and goldfish crackers (enough for everyone to get some)
  • Baskets to put the wafers and crackers in (12 baskets)
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Distribute the vanilla wafers and goldfish crackers among the twelve baskets and have them ready to distribute.  You might want to arrange to have volunteers ready to pass them out before you begin teaching.
  • Put markers in the Bible in the place where you want your volunteers to read the Scriptures for the lesson.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

  • “I’m going to tell you a story about over 5,000 hungry people.”
  • “Let’s read about it.”  (Have volunteer read John 6:1-4.)
  • “But that doesn’t tell us how many people were there.  Let’s jump ahead a little.”  (Have volunteer read John 6:10.)
  • “So, there were 5,000 men.  That’s just the men.”
  • “We know from one of the other Gospel writers (Matthew 14:21) that there were even more people than that, because it says there were 5,000 men besides the women and children.”
  • “I bet that most of the men brought their wives and children, too.”
  • “If every man brought his wife and even just one child, there would have been fifteen thousand people!  That’s a lot of hungry!”
  • “Let’s keep reading.”  (Have volunteer read John 6:5-6.)
  • You see, Jesus already knew what He was going to do, but He wanted to test them to see if their faith had grown from seeing Him do all the miracles He did.”
  • “And what did Philip say?” (Have volunteer read Philip’s response from John 6:7.)
  • “BZZZZZZZZZTTTTT!!!   Wrong answer!  Everyone say it with me, ‘BZZZZZZZTTTTT!!!!’”
  • “Philip failed the test.  He didn’t have any faith that Jesus could feed the people.”
  • “But let’s see what Andrew does.”  (Have volunteer read John 6:8-9.)
  • “Andrew brought Jesus a young boy with a lunch sack, which contained five, small loaves of bread and two fishes.”
  • “Andrew didn’t bring much, but he brought Jesus something.”
  • “DING! DING! DING!  Right answer!  Everyone say it with me, ‘DING! DING! DING!’”
  • “Believe it or not, even though Andrew still didn’t have enough faith to understand what Jesus could do, he was the one who passed the test.”
  • “Philip brought Jesus nothing but doubt, but Andrew brought what he could find.”
  • “He brought Jesus something, and when you’re talking about faith, something is always better than nothing.”
  • “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘Something is better than nothing!’”
  • “And what did Jesus do with that ‘something?’”
  • “Well, first He organized everyone into groups and had them sit down.”  (Organize participants into groups, and have them sit on the floor.)
  • “Then He took the loaves and blessed the food. ‘God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food.’”  (As you say this, hold up one of the baskets of wafers and crackers.)
  • “Then, He fed just a few of those people, right?” (Expected response: “No…” As you ask this question, have some volunteers begin to pass out the baskets of Goldfish and Vanilla Wafers to groups of kids.  They should continue until every group has a basket.)
  • “No? Well, He fed the hungriest people, right?” (Expected response: “No…”)
  • “No?  Well, He fed all the men, right?” (Expected response: “No…”)
  • “No?  Well, maybe He fed just the women and children, right?” (Expected response: “No…”)
  • “No?  Well, who did He feed?” (Expected response: “Everybody!”)
  • “Everybody?  You mean He fed every single person?  That’s amazing!”
  • “Well, surely He told them to only have one serving each so that the food would last, right?” (Expected response: “No…”)
  • “No?  How much did He feed them?”  (Have volunteer read John 6:11.)
  • “He gave them as much as they wanted?  That’s crazy!  We’re talking maybe 15,000 people at an all-you-can-eat buffet!  That’s a ton of food!”
  • “But wait, it gets even better!”  (Have volunteer read John 6:12-13.)
  • “They gathered twelve doggy bags (or baskets)!”
  • “Why do you think there were twelve baskets left over?”  (Expected response: “There were 12 Apostles.”  They may need some help making this connection.)
  • “Exactly! That was one for each of the Apostles!”
  • “I think Jesus was being funny.”
  • “He was teasing them, because they hadn’t believed that He could feed all those people, so He gave each of them their own personal reminder!”
  • “Now, Philip failed the test.  Andrew passed the test (but just barely).  But the boy did better than both of them.  He got an A+!”
  • “Can anyone tell me why?”  (Expected response: “Because he gave everything he had.”)
  • “Right!  He gave his entire lunch!”
  • “When it comes to faith, something is better than nothing but everything is better than something!”
  • “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘Everything is better than something!’”
  • “Think about that!  He had to be just as hungry as everyone else there.”
  • “Jesus had been teaching and healing all day, and it was now late in the afternoon.”
  • “I’m sure the boy had to make a tough decision – keep his lunch and fill his grumbling belly or give it away and take the risk that he might go hungry.”
  • “Faith always requires us to take a risk.”
  • “Faith is the moment something leaves our hands and goes into God’s hands.”
  • “We don’t know what God is going to do.  He almost never tells us ahead of time.”
  • “But we’ve got to trust that God will do something good and maybe something even better than we expect.”
  • “The boy didn’t know what Jesus was going to do with his lunch.”
    “There is no way he could have known. This had never happened before!”
  • “But that was the test!  Did the boy trust Jesus enough to let Him handle the problem?”
  • “God sometimes allows problems in our lives because He wants to know if we will trust Him by putting things into His hands.”
  • “To pass the test, we’ve got to let go of our problems and let God handle them.”
  • “Jump up and yell, ‘I’m gonna LET GO and LET GOD!!’”
  • “Yell it again, ‘I’m gonna LET GO and LET GOD!!’”
  • “Awesome!  That is what faith is all about!”
  • “Let’s all work at having faith in God like the boy in the story.”  (You may want to say the Rhyme Time below several times to reinforce the teaching point.)

 

Rhyme Time

When we practice letting go,

God will help our faith to grow.

 

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Filed under Apostles, faith, Problem solving, test, Trust

Follow the Leader (LESSON)


 

Time

30 minutes

 

Description

This lesson teaches about what’s it’s like to be on Jesus’ team.  When you are on a team, you do what you see your leader doing.  Peter didn’t always follow the leader very well, and Jesus had to go after him several times to get Peter to stay on the team.

 

Scriptures

John 1:35-51; Mark 1:16-20; Matthew 4:18-22; Luke 5:1-11; John 21:1-25

 

Materials

  • The following supporting materials can be found at www.teachingthem.comon the Lesson and Material Downloads page.
    • “Follow the Leader – Fishers of Men Logos” (Sports-style logos for your 12 volunteers who will portray the apostles and one for you to wear as the leader.)
  • Safety pins (13)
  • Costume for Peter character (“Petey”) – fisherman’s hat, fishing pole, tackle box, fishing vest, etc.  Can go barefoot.
  • Costume for Jesus character – a robe, possibly with a sash of some sort to go over one shoulder.  Can go barefoot.
  • OPTIONAL: 13 white undershirts (big enough for your volunteers)
  • OPTIONAL: Costumes for Andrew, James and John characters – tunics with a belt (I’ve used just a piece of fabric with a hole cut in the middle for the actor’s head to slip through and another strip of the same fabric for a belt.) Can go barefoot.
  • OPTIONAL: Something like a net that “Petey” can cast during the drama scenes.
  • OPTIONAL: Something to act like a boat for the drama scenes.

 

Preparation

  • Print 13 copies of the “Fishers of Men” logos (preferably in color).
  • Make 13 “Fishers of Men” t-shirts by pinning the logos to the white shirts.  (If you don’t use the undershirts, you can just pin the logos on the shirts of the volunteers during the lesson.)
  • Put on your own ‘Fishers of Men’ shirt or logo.
  • Select a volunteer to play “Petey” (someone who can do some extemporaneous acting), and have them get in costume.  They can wait off-stage or somewhere else out of sight.  Share teaching notes with volunteer so that he knows how he should respond during the lesson.
  • Select volunteers to play Jesus, James, John and Andrew, and have them get in costume.  (Because they are not speaking parts, you could use the same volunteers who come up to be Fishers of Men to play the roles of James, John and Andrew.) They can wait off-stage or somewhere else out of sight.  Share the general teaching plan so that they will know when to listen for your cues and what to do.

 

 

Procedure

Use the following script or modify to suit your needs:

  • “When Jesus was doing His ministry on earth, He put together a team of twelve apostles.”
  • “These twelve men followed Him everywhere He went and learned all they could from Him.”
  • “Then, when Jesus left the earth and returned to heaven, these men continued His work.”
  • “They did incredible things, like helping thousands of people to know Jesus, healing the sick, curing the lame and raising the dead to life!”
  • “Not everyone knows this, but Jesus is still putting His team together today!  And He wants you on it!”
  • “Let’s talk about what it means to be on Jesus’ team.” (Ask for 12 volunteers to come forward, and have them all put on a ‘Fishers of Men’ shirt (or pin the logo to the shirt they have on).)
  • Let’s say that I’m like Jesus, and these people are my followers.”
  • “Together, we make up a team called the ‘Fishers of Men.’”
  • “A follower is someone who does what he sees his leader doing, so I want you guys (addressing your volunteers) to do exactly what you see me doing.”  (Walk around the room in a funny way with exaggerated movements.  Make sure your volunteers mimic what they see you doing.)
  • “Now, if you saw all of us walking down the street like this, would it be hard to tell that we were together?”  (Listen for responses.)
  • “Could you tell that these guys were my followers?” (Listen for responses.)
  • “Not hard, right, because they are doing exactly what they see me doing.”
  • “These are really good followers.”  (Thank your volunteers, and let them take a seat.)
  • “So, if we want to be on Jesus’ team, what should we be doing?”  (Expected response: “What we see Him doing.”)
  • “And what do we see Jesus doing in the Bible?”  (Expected responses: “Helping people, praying, healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead, telling people about God…”)
  • “Some of those things would be pretty difficult for us to do, but we could ask God to do them for us.  If He thinks it’s the best thing to do, He will do it when we ask Him to.”
  • “But even if He doesn’t lead us to do some of the really difficult stuff, I bet there are some easier things He did that He would also like us to do.  What do you think those things are?”  (Expected responses: “What we see Him doing.  Praying, helping people, telling people about God…”)
  • “Exactly!  If we are on Jesus’ team, we should be doing those things that we see Him doing in Scripture.”
  • “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘I’m on Jesus’ team!’”
  • “Touch your other neighbor and say, ‘I’m doing what I saw my Leader do!’”
  • “You’ve got it!”
  • “But you know what?  Peter didn’t get it.”
  • “You know what Peter did after he first met Jesus?  After he saw Jesus turn water into wine and heal many people, including the son of a royal official?  And after he saw Jesus walk right through an angry mob that wanted to throw Him off a cliff? You know what Peter did then?”
  • “He went back to fishing!  Can you believe it?” (Have your “Petey” volunteer walk across the front of the room, dressed in fishing hat and vest with a pole and tackle box.)
  • “Everybody, I want you to ask Petey there, ‘Petey!  Whatcha doin’?’”  (Have everyone ask out loud. Petey should say, “I’m goin’ fishin’.”)
  • “Petey, Petey, Petey…  Don’t you remember that your brother Andrew introduced you to Jesus and told you that He was the Messiah?”  (OPTIONAL: Have a volunteer read John 1:41-42.)
  • (Petey should say, “Uh….well, yeah.  I do seem to remember that.”)
  • “And do you remember when Jesus gave you that cool new name that meant, ‘The Rock?’”
  • (Petey should say, “Yeah, that’s why you’re calling me Petey.”  (To kids)  “I used to be called Simon.  It meant, “to listen and obey,” but I’ve never been very good at that.  Jesus named me “Peter,” – “the ROCK!”)
  • “And do you remember all the cool miracles Jesus did?”
  • (Petey: “Yeah!  Those were cool!”)
  • “So why are you going fishing again?”
  • (Petey: “It’s what I do!” – Shrug, and let Petey go.  Have him pretend to go fishing nearby.)
  • “Peter was definitely not doing what he saw his Leader do.”
  • “So, kids, what do you think Jesus did about Peter?” (Listen for responses.)
  • “Yep, Jesus went after him.”  (Have “Jesus” actor come conspicuously through the teaching area and follow the “Petey” character.  He should come back through room with “Petey” and “Andrew.”)
  • “He found Peter and his brother Andrew fishing, and he said to them ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’” (You can have your Jesus actor say this if you want.  It’s from Matthew 4:18-20; Mark 1:16-18. Then have “Petey” and “Andrew” follow “Jesus” out of the room.)
  • “Without another word, Peter and Andrew got up and followed Jesus, and so did their friends James and John, who were also fishermen.” (Have “James” and “John” already sitting somewhere in the room.  At this point, they get up and follow the others out of the room.)
  • “And it’s a good thing they did!  They saw some cool stuff!”
  • “Jesus taught many people about God, cast out demons and healed people of all kinds of diseases.  He even healed Peter’s mother-in-law from a fever.” (Have “Petey” return and walk back through the room alone with his fishing gear.)
  • “Hey, kids!  There he is again!”
  • “Everybody, I want you to ask Petey there, ‘Petey!  Whatcha doin’?’” (Have everyone ask out loud.)
  • (Petey should say: “I’m goin’ fishin’.”)
  • “Petey, Petey, Petey…  How could you be going fishing again after all you’ve seen Jesus do?  Don’t you remember everything He taught you and all the cool miracles?”
  • (Petey: “Yep!  I remember.”)
  • “So why are you going fishing again?”
  • (Petey: “It’s what I do!” – Shrug, and let Petey go.  He should join the Andrew character, who should return and pretend to be cleaning nets.)
  • “Peter’s still not doing what he sees his Leader doing!”
  • “So, kids, what do you think Jesus did about Peter?”  (Expected response: “Went after him.”)
  • “Yep, He went after him.”  (Have “Jesus” actor come conspicuously through the teaching area and follow the “Petey” character.  All actors should be in the room at this point, but they shouldn’t be in one group.  “Petey” and “Andrew” should be together; “James” and “John” should be together but in a different corner of the room; “Jesus” should come in last and stand near to “Petey” and “Andrew.”)
  • “He found Peter and his brother Andrew washing their nets by the lake.” (Luke 5:1-11 – Have all the fishermen act like they are cleaning their nets.  From here on, they should act out whatever you say.)
  • “By now, a huge crowd followed Jesus everywhere He went, and they were at the lake wanting to hear more of what Jesus was telling them.”
  • “Jesus knew that they could hear Him better if He went out onto the water of the lake, so He got in Peter’s and Andrew’s boat and asked them to push out a little from the shore.”  (Have actors act this out.)
  • “From there, He sat down and taught the people many things.”
  • “When He finished, he turned to Peter, and He told him to go into the deep water and put his nets back in.”
  • (Petey: “Master, we’ve been working hard all night long, and we haven’t caught anything.”)
  • “Peter was frustrated.  He was tired.  He had worked all night long with no sleep and no fish.”
  • “And now, Jesus is trying to tell him how to do his job.”
  • “Jesus wasn’t a fisherman.  He grew up doing what He saw His earthly father doing, and that was carpentry.”
  • “So, Peter had a decision to make right there.”
  • “Was he going to trust his own experience as an expert fisherman, or was he going to trust Jesus?”
  • “What do you think he did?”  (Expected response: “Trusted Jesus!”)
  • “Yes!  He trusted Jesus!”
  • (Petey: “Master, we’ve been working hard all night long, and we haven’t caught anything.  But because You asked me to do it, I’ll let down the nets again.”)
  • “So Peter and Andrew rowed out to the deep water, and they let down the nets over the side of the boat.”  (Have Petey toss something like a net onto the audience if you have it.  He should then mimic pulling in a huge catch of fish.)
  • (Petey: “Fish!  We’ve caught fish!  ….And there are hundreds of them!  And big!  The nets are starting to break!  James!  John!  Hurry!  Bring your boat over here to help us!”)
  • “James and John, who were Peter’s and Andrew’s partners in the fishing business, quickly came over to help.”
  • “Together, they pulled in so many fish that both boats were completely full of them, and the boats were so heavy that they almost sank in the water!”
  • “When Peter saw this, he fell on his knees and said to Jesus…”
  • (“Petey”: “Go away from me, Lord.  I am a sinful man!”)
  • “You see, Peter was suddenly reminded of exactly Who Jesus was!”
  • “Andrew had told him before that Jesus was the Messiah, the Anointed One, the One Who came to save people from their sins.”
  • “Peter had forgotten, but now he remembered!  And even though he probably didn’t yet realize that Jesus is God, he did realize that a righteous man of God was in his boat.”
  • “Jesus’ righteousness compared to Peter’s sinfulness made Peter feel unworthy to even have Jesus in his boat.”
  • “But Jesus told Peter not to be afraid because he would catch men rather than fish from that moment forward.”
  • “So Peter and Andrew, James and John rowed into shore, got out of their boats and left everything behind to follow Jesus.”  (Actors exit.)
  • “You mean, they left all those fish?  Those fish were worth more money than they had ever made in a day – maybe in a week or even in a month!”
  • “But they left them.  The Bible says that they left everything!”
  • “You see, Jesus had very important work for these men to do, and Peter’s job was going to be the most important.”
  • “Jesus wanted Peter to be the leader, so He tested Peter to see if he was ready.”
  • “In fact, Jesus tested Peter three times on this fishing trip.”
  • “The first time was when Jesus asked to use Peter’s and Andrew’s boat.  Jesus wanted to see if these tired fishermen were willing to do something for Him just because He asked.”
  • “The second test was when Jesus asked Peter to let down his nets.  This was a test of Peter’s faith.”
  • “The third test was when Peter and his friends caught the biggest catch of fish in their lifetime.  This was a test of Peter’s heart.”
  • “Jesus wanted to know if Peter would be satisfied with a miracle or if he wanted the Miracle-Maker.”
  • “Peter chose the Miracle-Maker, and he left that incredible catch of fish behind to go and be a fisher of men.”
  • “And I’m happy to say that from that day on, with only one exception (after Jesus’ resurrection, when Peter went back to fishing), Peter started doing what he saw his Leader doing.”
  • “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘I’m on Jesus’ team!’”
  • “Touch your other neighbor and say, ‘I’m doing what I saw my Leader do!’”
  • “Touch as many people as you can and say, ‘I’m gonna be a fisher of men!’”  (You may want to have the group recite the following rhyme to reinforce the lesson.)

 

Rhyme Time

I follow my Leader;

I do what He does.

I’m a fisher of men,

And I catch with God’s love.

 

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Filed under Apostles, discipleship, Jesus, Lesson, Obedience, Peter

Not a Dream Team (LESSON)


 

Time

30 minutes

 

Description

This lesson teaches about Jesus calling the apostles to join Him in the work of building the Kingdom of God.  The people He chose were not the people others would have chosen; they were not considered the “best” people in His day.  Some of them were actually considered “terrible” people or the “worst” people, but Jesus had a plan to use them in a way that everyone would know had to be done by God alone.

 

Scriptures

Mark 1:16-20, 3:13-19

 

Materials

  • The following supporting materials can be found at www.teachingthem.comon the Lesson and Material Downloads page.
    • “Not a Dream Team – Slide” (Shows all the apostle faces in case you want to project them.)
    • “Not a Dream Team – Apostle Faces and Signs” (Props for each of the volunteers to hold as you introduce the apostles.)
    • “Not a Dream Team – Best-Worst People Signs” (Signs for each of the people groups mentioned in the lesson.)
    • “Not a Dream Team – Fishers of Men Logos” (Sports-style logos for your 12 volunteers who will portray the apostles.)
  • Paint stir sticks or large Popsicle sticks (32)
  • Paper plates (32)
  • Glue
  • Safety pins (12)
  • Clothesline or rope
  • Clothespins
  • OPTIONAL – 12 white undershirts (big enough for your volunteers)

 

Preparation

  • Print apostle face pictures and signs, best-worst people signs, and fishers of men logos.
  • Create face and people group signs. (Glue pictures to paper plates and then to paint stir sticks to make handles.)
  • Make 12 “Fishers of Men” t-shirts by pinning the logos to the white shirts.  (If you don’t use the undershirts, you can just pin the logos on the shirts of the volunteers during the lesson.)
  • String rope across the teaching area at eye level or a little above, and attach the clothespins so that you’ll have them ready.

 

Procedure

  • “When it was time for Jesus’ ministry here on earth, He went out and picked a team.”
  • “How many of you have ever played games before where you had to pick teams?” (Acknowledge show of hands.)
  • “Who do you always want on your team?”  (Expected answer: the best, the most talented)
  • “Right!  But Jesus didn’t think that way.”
  • “He wasn’t looking for the best or the most talented or even the best looking or the people with the most money; He was looking for those who would give their whole hearts to Him.
  • “Now, I’ve got to tell you something up front.  In Jesus’ day, people had opinions about what type of people were good and what type of people were bad.”  (Clip “Good People” and “Bad People” signs to the clothesline on opposite ends.)
  • “Good people were thought to be closer to God.” (Clip “God” sign on the other side of the “Good People” sign.  Ask for 11 volunteers to come to the front, and hand them two people-group signs each (some will only receive one – see below for which ones to give each person.)  Then, introduce them in the following order.
    • Volunteer 1 – Priests and Levites
    • Volunteer 2 – Prophets and Rabbis
    • Volunteer 3 – Fishermen and Women
    • Volunteer 4 – Gentiles and Pig Farmers
    • Volunteer 5 – Romans and Herodians
    • Volunteer 6 – Tax Collectors and Lepers
    • Volunteer 7 – Samaritans and Zealots
    • Volunteer 8 – Chief Priest and Sadducees
    • Volunteer 9 – Pharisees
    • Volunteer 10 – Scribes and Teachers of the Law
    • Volunteer 11 – Jesus)
  • “So, who where the good people?”
  • “Well, there were Priests, and the Levites.  These were people who served God in His Temple.”  (Have volunteer with these two signs hold them up so that they can be seen.  Position him/her under “Good People” sign.)
  • “And then there were Prophets and Rabbis.  They were men who brought God’s Word to the people.”  (Position under “Good People.”)
  • “Fishermen and Women weren’t considered Good People, but they weren’t exactly bad people, either.   They were more like Unimportant People, so we will put them in the middle between Good and Bad.”  (Position in the middle.)
  •  “I’m sorry to say, girls, that Women were not always considered to be very good people.  The men sometimes treated them badly.”
  • “Then there were the ‘Bad People.’”
  • “Anyone who wasn’t a Jew was considered a Gentile, and these people were generally thought to be ‘Bad People.’” (Position under “Bad People.”)
  • “Pig Farmers were also considered to be among the “Bad People,” because eating pig was against the Jewish religion.”
  • “The Romans were soldiers and leaders from Rome who ruled over the Jews, and the Herodians were people who followed King Herod.  King Herod was King of the Jews, but he was a really bad one. (Position under “Bad People.”)
  • “So we have the Good People and the Bad People, but there were others who didn’t fit in either of these groups.”
  • “For example, the tax collectors.  Among the Jews, few were hated as much as tax collectors, who regularly charged the people lots of money to pay to Rome but then also kept large amounts for themselves.”
  • “For tax collectors, the Jews had a special group.”  (Clip “The Worst People” sign on the other side of “Bad People,” and have volunteer stand under it.)
  • “They really didn’t like tax collectors!”
  • “With the tax collectors, the Jews would usually include Lepers, people with contagious skin diseases.  People were afraid of them, so they made them live together in caves and other lonely places.
  • “And there was a group of people called Samaritans that Jews really hated.  Samaritans had been Jews long ago, but they married with people who weren’t Jewish and who worshipped other gods, gods who weren’t real.”  (Position under “Worst People.”)
  • “And the Zealots! They were a group that wanted to kick the Romans out of Israel, which sounds good.  But most of the Jews were afraid of them because they were so violent, and they didn’t like them because they caused the Jews trouble with the Romans.”
  • “Then there were the rich and powerful people. They thought they deserved a new group.”  (Put up sign that says, “The Best People,” between “God” and “Good People.”)
  • “The most powerful person was the Chief Priest. He was the leader of all the priests.” (Position under “Best People.”)
  • “The ‘Best People’ also included a group called the Sadducees.
  • “They didn’t believe in Jesus or life after death, so they were ‘sad, you see.’”
  • “Then, there was a group called the Pharisees.
  • “They were always trying to trick Jesus, and they didn’t play ‘fair I see.’”
  • “These people were made up of powerful priests, who said that they believed in God but really just wanted more power and more money for themselves.  Even so, they were considered the ‘Best People.’” (Position under “Best People.”)
  • “There were groups, called the Scribes and the Teachers of the Law.  They were teachers who studied and copied the Law, which is God’s Word. (Position under “Best People.”)
  • “So where do you think Jesus would have gone based on the opinions of the day?”  (Listen to responses.)
  • Jesus was considered to be either a prophet or a rabbi, so he started in the “Good People” group.”  (Position in “Good People.”)
  • “But by the end of His life, the rich and powerful people hated Him, because He would also tell them to stop doing the bad things they were doing.”
  • “They thought He was one of the ‘Worst People’ and worthy of death.”  (Position under “Worst People.”)
  • So, this is what things were like while Jesus was putting together His team.”
  • “If He was going to put together a ‘Dream Team,’ which groups of people do you think He would go to?” (Listen to responses.)
  • “Right!  I think He would make a Dream Team out of the ‘Best People,’ but that’s not what He did.”
  • “Let me tell you about the team Jesus put together.” 
  • “Jesus selected a team and told them that they were the ‘Fishers of Men.’ They are a very special team – a team selected specifically by Jesus to take the Good News about Him to the world.” (As you select these team members, put a “Fishers of Men” t-shirt or pin a logo on each one of them.)
  • “There was Andrew – he was the first to come to Jesus; he was stinky fisherman #1.” (Go to your “Fisherman and Women” volunteer, and trade the Andrew sign and face for the signs he/she is holding.  Separate this volunteer from the group a little.)
  • “Simon-Peter” (Ask for a volunteer from the audience, and give him/her the Simon-Peter sign and face and stand next to Andrew.)
  • “Andrew’s brother and stinky fisherman #2.  He has two names, because he can’t decide what he wants to be.  Simon means “listening and obeying,” but Simon-Peter spent too much time talking to listen.  Peter means “rock.”  He wanted to be a rock for the Lord, but when he was tested, he failed, and they say he would start to cry about his failure anytime anyone mentioned it. (Ask for two more volunteers from the audience, and give them the James the Greater and John signs and faces.)
  • “James (the Greater) and John – brothers and stinky fishermen #3 and #4.  They were hot-heads, who once offered to call lightning down from heaven to destroy a village.  They were always arguing about who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.  Jesus nicknamed them “Sons of Thunder!”
  • “This one will surprise you!” (Go to your Tax Collector volunteer and trade him/her their signs for the Matthew sign and face.)
  • “Matthew – a tax collector!  One of the people the Jews hated the most!” (Ask for another volunteer from the audience, and give him/her the James the Less sign and face.)
  • “Then there was James (the Less) – he was probably Matthew’s brother.  Being brother to a tax collector didn’t get you invited to parties.  They even called him,

‘James, the Less.’  Ouch!” (Ask for another volunteer, and give him/her the Philip sign and face.)

  • “Philip – he was a little slow and always had to be reminded who Jesus was and what He could do.” (Call for two volunteers from the audience, and give them the Bartholomew and Thaddaeus signs and faces.)
  • “Bartholomew and Thaddaeus – Bartholo-Who?  And Thadda-WHICH? These guys are only mentioned when they join the team.  Other than that, we don’t really know anything about them.”  (Hand two volunteers signs that say Bartholo-Who?  And Thadda-WHICH?, Ask for another volunteer from the audience, and give him/her the Thomas sign and face.)
  • “Thomas – he’s become known as “Doubting Thomas,” because he refused to believe Jesus rose from the dead until he personally saw Jesus alive and touched Jesus’ nail scars.”
  • “Here’s another surprising one!” (Go to your Zealot volunteer, and trade him/her the Simon the Zealot sign and face.)
  • “Simon – known as ‘The Zealot.’ Simon was another hot-head.  Remember, the Zealots were always fighting against the Romans, and they made everyone nervous.  He would have hated being on the same team as a tax collector, who stole money from Jewish people.” (Ask for one more volunteer from the audience, and give him/her the Judas sign and face.) 
  • “Judas – he was the strangest person for Jesus to pick for His team, because Jesus knew that Judas wasn’t loyal.  Jesus knew that Judas was greedy and that he would one day sell him to the religious leaders and betray him with a kiss, but Jesus invited him to join the team anyway.
  • So what do you think of that team?  Definitely not a ‘Dream Team’ for Jesus.  We’ve got four fishermen (basically, unimportant people), a tax collector and a zealot – two of the ‘Worst People’ and a bunch of others that were most likely shepherds, tanners, and carpenters – just ordinary, unimportant people.”
  • “And even beyond the apostles, the others that were close to Jesus were often women and what the religious leaders would call ‘sinners.’
  • “He didn’t choose ‘The Best People’ or even who most would call ‘The Good People.’  He chose those others would say were not worth having.” 
  • “This is one of the reasons that the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Chief Priest, the Scribes and the Teachers of the Law got so frustrated with Jesus.”
  • “He didn’t play by the rules.”
  • “He didn’t set up a team with powerful and rich people.  He surrounded Himself with simple, unimpressive people.”
  • “They certainly weren’t a dream team, but Jesus made them into the Fishers of Men.”
  • “Jesus had a plan, and these were the perfect guys to help Him with it!”
  • “You see, Jesus didn’t put people in categories like ‘Bad People’ and ‘Good People’ or ‘Best People’ and ‘Worst People.’”
  • “He only has two categories: ‘God’s People’ and ‘Not God’s People.’”  (Remove the other signs from the rope (except the God sign), and replace them with the signs for “God’s People” and “Not God’s People.”)
  • “Those who love God and do what He says are God’s People, and they are very close to God.”  (Move all the Fishers of Men (the Apostles) over to the God’s People side.)
  • “Those who don’t love God and don’t do what He says are Not God’s People, and they are very far from God.” (Move everyone else over to the Not God’s People side.)
  • “God works very hard all throughout their lives to get them to come over to God’s People.” (Pick a few of the volunteers from any people group, and move them over to the God’s People side.)
  • “He tries to show His love to them, and He sends some of God’s People to them to help them know how He feels about them.) (Have some of the God’s People volunteers go and bring some of the Not God’s People volunteers back to their side.)
  • “But sometimes they just don’t want to come.” (Have a few of the Not God’s People resist and stay where they are.)
  • “Sometimes they feel like God couldn’t love a Bad Person like them, or sometimes they think they are the Worst type of Person and that God is terribly angry with them.”
  • “But it isn’t true!  God loves everyone one of us, no matter what we’ve done.”
  • “He doesn’t expect us to try to be a Good or Best Person to join His team.”
  • “He’s not looking for a Dream Team.  He just wants us to love Him and do what He says.”
  • “If we will just follow Him, we will get to be Fishers of Men, too!” (Thank your volunteers, and let them all take a seat.  To reinforce the lesson, you might want to have the group repeat the Rhyme Time below a few times.)

 

 

Rhyme Time

I may not be the best;

I may not be a dream.

But even when I’m messing up,

Jesus wants me on His Team!

 

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Filed under Apostles, Body of Christ, Disciples, Jesus, Lesson

Needs Analysis (DEVOTION)


As a group, read the following Scriptures, and use the form to do a needs analysis of the situation.

Matthew 17:14-20         Mark 9:14-29       Luke 9:37-43

Symptoms

  • What are the main issues?
  • What isn’t working well?
  • What is obvious about the problem(s)?

Suffering

  • What pain is it causing?
  • Who/what is impacted by the performance gap?
  • What is it costing individuals, the team or the organization?

Significance

  • What are the organizational goals that are being impacted by the lack of performance?
    • (If possible, tie these in with the organization’s strategy, vision or mission.)
  • What is the potential cost to the organization if the goals and outcomes aren’t achieved and the performance problem isn’t addressed?

Success

  • What is the desired performance?
  • What does success look like?
  • What are the expectations?
  • How will we know when we get there?

Status

  • What is happening now?
  • What level of performance is currently being achieved?
  • What are the gaps between the desired performance and the current performance?

Sources

  • Why is the gap happening?
    • Know, Grow, Whoa, Mo, Go
  • Who or what is responsible?

Solutions

  1. 1.    Suggest
  • What do you recommend?
  • Who should do what by when?
  1. 2.    Select
  • Typically done by key leaders or stakeholders.
  1. 3.    Start
  • Typically done by key leaders or stakeholders.
  1. 4.    Status (Celebrate or Start Over)
  • Return to the Status step to evaluate the effectiveness of the solution.

 

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Filed under Apostles, demons, Devotion, Disciples, faith, Healing, Jesus, leadership, Management, Needs Analysis, Overcoming obstacles, Performance, Problem solving, spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Growth, test

Shared Resources (GAME)


Audience

Children, Teens, Adults

Time

20-25 minutes
Description

This game teaches that we often need to share resources in order to be successful.  Competition with others outside the team is usually productive, but competition within a team can create a lose-lose outcome for all involved.

Scriptures

o  Acts 2:42-47

 

Materials

o  Flipchart and marker

o  Large, open space to play

o  Mats of some type

o   They can be pieces of cardboard or posterboard, table mats or even newspaper or flipchart paper.

o   You will need one per participant, plus one extra per team.  For example if you have four teams of five people each, you will need 20 mats (one per participant) plus four mats (one extra per team) for a total of 24 mats.

o   They should be large enough for one person to stand on (i.e., about 2’x2’).

o  (Optional) Prizes for the winning teams.

o  Bible

Preparation

o  Clear the open space of any obstacles.

o  Divide participants into teams of similar size (5-8 is best).

o  Identify a starting line and a finishing line. It should be across the room and a significant distance away.

o  Count out the mats for each team.  They should have one more mat than people on their teams.  It doesn’t matter if teams are not the same size.  If you have three teams with five people and one team with six, the three teams should have six mats, and the fourth team should have seven mats.

o  Space the mats out along the starting line.  Keep them close enough together that teams will be able to pass mats back and forth between them.

o  Write the debriefing questions (at the end of this lesson) on a flipchart, but conceal them until it is time to debrief.

 

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “We are going to play a game about sharing resources, and we will do it twice.”
  • “The first time, your team will be in competition with the others, and we will see how can get from the Start Line to the Finish Line first.”
  • “I’ve put mats out along this Start Line.”
  • “Your goal is to travel to the Finish Line only stepping on the mats as you go.”
  • “It might not sound too difficult, but I have a few additional rules to share.”
  • “You can never have more than one person on a mat at a time.  In other words, no sharing mats.”
  • “Your feet must never touch anything except for a mat as you go from the Start Line to the Finish Line – no standing on other peoples’ shoes, no stepping on the floor, no using other objects as mats – these are the only mats you can use.”
  • “If you break a rule, you have to go back to the Start Line and begin again.”
  • “Each team has one more mat than you have people.”
  • “So the way that you will move is that people in the back will pass a mat forward to the leader.”
  • “The leader will step on the new mat, and everyone behind him will step forward to stand on the mat of the person that was in front of them.”
  • “Eventually, you will fill up all but one of your mats.”
  • “Pass that mat from the back of the line to the front of the line, and everyone will be able to take another step forward.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions?” (Answer any questions.)
  • “Okay, get ready, get set……..GO!”  (Allow teams to race.  Make sure they are following the rules.  Send a team back if it breaks a rule. When a team has crossed the Finish Line, declare them the winner and have everyone return to the Start Line.)
  • “Now, let’s do it again, but this time, I’m going to take away some of your mats.”  (Select groups, and take away one mat from each of them.  You can even take away two mats from one team to add more difficulty to the challenge.  Leave two groups with all their mats (including the one extra per team). )
  • “During the last race, success was beating the other teams, but this time, success is ALL teams crossing the Finish Line.”
  • “Unfortunately, not all teams are equally equipped, so you are going to have to find a way to share resources.”
  • “All other rules still apply.”
  • “What questions do you have?”  (Answer any questions.)
  • “Okay, get ready, get set………GO!”  (Allow teams to work together to reach the Finish Line.  They will have to pass the two extra mats between teams in order to be successful.  If you took two mats away from one team, they will need to permanently borrow one of the extra mats.  This will allow only one mat to be passed between teams, which will slow them all down.  However, it’s a good lesson on ‘we are only as strong as our weakest link.’  Without the extra mat, that team will get left behind.  After they have all crossed the Finish Line, you might want to award a prize to everyone for their teamwork or offer a prize to the team that won the first race.  Have participants regroup into their teams to discuss the following debriefing questions.)


Debriefing Questions

o  How did you resolve the issue of scarce resources?

o  Why is it important for us to share resources?

o  How can we do this better in our own groups/organization?

o  Read Acts 2:42-47.  How did the early Church handle resources?

o  What was the impact of this approach?

o  What other lessons can you take away from this activity?

 

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Filed under Apostles, competition, Game, Games that Teach, Group Dynamics, sharing, team, teambuilding, teamwork