Sunday, May 31, 2015

Lesson - Dorcas, The Benevolent Seamstress

VERSES:  Acts 9:36-43

MEMORY VERSE:  Acts 9:36  "...this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   1 Corinthians.  Write "1 Corinthians" on small slips of paper and hand out at the end of class to encourage the students to memorize one more New Testament book.

PRAYER:  Pray that we have a kind heart like Dorcas and have compassion for those in need.

SPECIAL SONG:  Be Patient And Kind (see April 2014 - Lesson - Joseph Meets His Brothers Who Hated Him on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)

VISUAL AID:   Large Activity (see below); Bible map showing Lydda and Joppa.

  • In the town of Joppa, there was a woman who did many good works and kind deeds for the poor people. Her name was Tabitha, but some also called her Dorcas.  Dorcas was a believer in Jesus and was included in the disciples who lived in Joppa. One day, Dorcas got very sick and died. Her friends got her ready for her funeral and laid her in an upper room. 
  • But the disciples heard that Peter was in a nearby town called Lydda and, because Lydda was close to the town of Joppa, they sent two men to Peter and asked if he would hurry and come to Joppa with them.
  • Peter got up right then and went with the two men. When they arrived in Joppa, they took him to the upper room where Dorcas was laying. Inside the room there were many poor widows who were grieved that she had died and they stood by Peter. They were crying and showing him all the coats and pieces of clothing that Dorcas had made for them while she was alive. Dorcas was definitely a kindhearted and compassionate woman who did many good things for others.
  • Peter sent everyone out of the room, knelt down, and prayed. Then, he turned to the woman and said, "Tabitha, arise!" Do you know what Dorcas did? She opened up her eyes, and when she saw that it was Peter, she sat up! She wasn't dead anymore!
  • Peter gave her his hand and lifted her up. When he had called all the disciples and the widows, he showed how Dorcas had come to life again! Everyone knew that Peter had performed a miracle by raising Dorcas from the dead. The wonderful news of how Dorcas was alive again spread though the whole city! Because of this miracle, many people believed in the Lord.
"Older Student:" Tips:
  • We all need to be like Dorcas. Can people say that we are full of good works? Are we always doing good things to our family, friends, neighbors and classmates? Would people be sad if we weren't here anymore? We need to always do good deeds for our neighbors. Read Ephesians 4:31, 32. Are we kind to others? Are we tenderhearted? Do we forgive others when they are unkind to us? We should be just like this good woman named Dorcas.
ACTIVITY:  Dorcas, Full of Good Works
Materials needed:  One 5" x 8" envelope, five 4" x 9" pieces of scrapbook or decorated paper, a total of six 4" x 5" brown, tan, and light brown construction paper, 1" x 7" scrap of brown construction paper, scraps of blue and yellow paper, glue, crayons, scissors, marker.

  • Note: Below, I have included a "Person Stencil" and a "Clothing Stencil." If desired, make copies of these stencils for students to trace shapes on to colored paper; otherwise, have students make their own people and clothing.
  • Note: If the widows coats are not glued down, then the student may trade coats among the widows. If this is too awkward, glue all coats to people. 
  1. Hand out "Person Stencil" and trace six people on to six pieces of brown, tan, and light brown paper. Only six people are needed.
  2. Cut out six people.
  3. On four of these people draw happy faces on one side and unhappy face on the other side. These are the widows.
  4. On one of the people shapes, draw a happy face on one side and a person with "x"s for eyes. This is Dorcas.
  5. On the last person shape, draw a face with his mouth open. This is Peter.
  6. Hand out "Clothing Stencil" and pretty paper. These are the widows coats.
  7. Folding, the pretty paper in half, place Clothing Stencil with the word "FOLD" on the folded paper. We are making a coat that will go over the head of each widow.
  8. Trace five folded coats. One for each of the four widows and one for Dorcas.
  9. Trace one more coat out of the blue paper, but it does not need to be folded since it is Peter's robe.
  10. Cut all coats and one robe out with scissors, observing the "FOLDED" edges.
  11. Place coats on all four widows and Dorcas.
  12. Glue Peter's robe on Peter.
  13. Write "Dorcas" on Dorcas and "Peter" on Peter.
  14. Hand out long brown strip of paper. This is Dorcas' bed.
  15. Cut 1/2" off of the long brown strip. Cut small piece of brown paper in half again. These are the bed's legs.
  16. Glue legs on bottom of bed.
  17. Hand out yellow scrap of paper.
  18. Write "Tabitha, arise." on yellow paper.
  19. Hand out envelope.
  20. Write "Dorcas, Full of Good Works" and "Acts 9:36-43" on front of envelope.
  21. Let each student have a minute to tell the story of Dorcas, using their cut-outs. Remember the widows must leave the room before Peter raises Dorcas to life.
  22. Before the end of class, all pieces are placed in envelope. 
  23. Take home!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Lesson - Saul Escapes In A Basket

VERSES:   Acts 9:23-31

MEMORY VERSE:   Acts 9:27  "But Barnabas took him, and brought him unto the apostles..."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   Review the first six books of the New Testament.

PRAYER:  Pray for our family and friends that they may be healthy and live long lives for the Lord.

SPECIAL SONG:   Be Patient And Kind (see April 2014 - Lesson - Joseph Meets His Brothers Who Hated Him on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)

VISUAL AID:   Large Activity, Bible map, showing Jerusalem, Caesarea, Tarsus, Judea, Galilee, Samaria; Large Activity (see below) using a real basket.

  • We remember that Saul had believed that he was doing right when he was persecuting and hurting Christians. He believed that until Jesus spoke to him on the road to Damascus and told him to go into the city where he was baptized by Ananias and immediately began to preach to others about Christ. Many of the Jews were nervous about Saul because they had heard how he had arrested and persecuted many Christians in Jerusalem.
  • As Saul grew stronger and confused the Jews living in Damascus by preaching that Jesus is the Son of God, the Jews had had enough! They met together and talked about how they should kill Saul. But, Saul found out about their plan to kill him and how they were watching the gates of the city day and night. But, Saul had friends--the disciples of Jesus helped Saul! These same Christians whom Saul had been persecuting, helped Saul get away from the Jews.
  • There was a wall around the city of Damascus. The gates that were built into the wall could be opened and closed, so people could go through them to get in and out of the city. Since the Jews were watching the gates, hoping to find Saul and kill him, the ones who believed and followed Jesus took Saul at night and let him down one of the walls of the city in a basket and Saul escaped! 
  • When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to be with the disciples of Jesus, but there was a problem. The Christians were afraid of Saul! They did not believe that he was a disciple of Christ. 
  • But there was one man who became a close friend of Saul's and his name was Barnabas. Barnabas was a good man who was full of the Holy Spirit and of faith and because of him many people were baptized into Christ (Acts 11:24).This good man, Barnabas, took Saul to the apostles himself! He was not afraid of Saul! Saul told the apostles how he had seen the Lord on the road to Damascus and how Jesus had spoken to him. Saul, also, told them that he had preached with confidence in Damascus in the name of Jesus. So, with Barnabas' help, the disciples accepted Saul. 
  • In Jerusalem, Saul preached boldly in the name of Jesus. There were some from Greece, called Grecians, in Jerusalem and they argued with Saul and, finally, they, too, tried to kill Saul. They did not like or believe how Saul was saying that Jesus is the Son of God. When the brethren found out about the Grecians plotting to kill Saul, they took him down to the seaport of Caesarea and sent him back to his home--to Tarsus.
  • Then, the congregations or churches rested throughout all Samaria, Galilee, and Samaria. They were edified or built up, walked in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. During this restful period, the church grew.
"Older Student" Tips:

  • The Bible is a wonderful book and it is blended with statements that tell a story. We read in 2 Corinthians 11:32, 33 that Paul mentions his escape from Damascus. From this passage, we learn that the King of Damascus was Aretas. He had a governor that had a garrison or troops of soldiers who wanted to arrest Saul, but Saul was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped.
  • Communication in Saul's day was not like it is today. The only way they had to spread news was by one man telling another. No cell phones, no television,and no radios were available then. Perhaps this was a reason that the disciples in Jerusalem were suspicious of Saul being baptized. Barnabas vouched for or recommended Saul to the apostles and that was how he was accepted.

ACTIVITY:  Saul escaped in a basket 
Materials needed:  A small basket or paper cup (I didn't have a small basket, so I used a paper cup; a cupcake liner could work, too), two pieces of 8" twine or string, 4" x 6" brown construction paper, scraps of tan construction paper, crayons, scissors, tape (if desired), hole puncher.
  1. Hand out a plain white paper cup and color a 'basket' design on it. This is Saul's basket.
  2. Write "Saul Escapes In A Basket" and "Acts 9:23-31" on the basket. If using a real basket, write this on a small piece of paper and attach to basket.
  3. Make one hole on each side of 'basket' with hole puncher.
  4. Tie one piece of twine through each side of the 'basket." Tie each piece of twine in a knot.
  5. Set 'basket' aside.
  6. Hand out brown paper.
  7. Cut a large triangle. This is Saul's robe.
  8. Using, leftover brown paper, cut two arms.
  9. Hand out tan scraps.
  10. Cut a tan circle, two hands, and two feet.
  11. Clue arms, head, and feet to robe.
  12. Color Saul.
  13. Write "Saul" on robe.
  14. If needed, fold Saul's legs to fit 'basket."
  15. If desired, tape Saul's hands to twine.
  16. Before leaving classroom, make sure Saul is in his "basket."

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Words Of Encouragement Along The Way #22 - Remembering Their Voices

Have you ever walked into your Bible classroom before it was time to start and listened? Perhaps you went down the hall to get something and, when you returned, your classroom was bustling! The students had discovered the extra-large activity you had worked on all week or maybe they were crowded around the new bulletin board that you struggled with the day before and now was on display for that day's Bible lesson. The students were speaking with excitement as they saw what you had created for their benefit. Close your eyes and remember their voices. This is one of the byproducts of your hard work--the joy of remembering their joy!

Children have a sweet way of speaking, no matter how old or how young they are. The words they use, the tones, the wonder, and the excitement in their voices often show what is in their hearts. Remember the sound of their voices and think about them as you create another project in the future. Strive to capture another wonderful moment like that again! The hard work you do, the interest you create, and the memories that last a lifetime begin with you. How will you help them remember God's wonderful Bible lessons for years to come? 

Yes, your hard work is rewarded here on this earth and in the life to come. "Whatsoever your hand findeth to do, do it with thy might..." Ecclesiastes 9:10

Lesson - The Conversion of Saul

VERSES:  Acts 9:1-22

MEMORY VERSE:  Acts 9:15  "...for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   Romans. Write "Romans" on small slips of paper and hand out at the end of class to memorize at home. The purpose of learning one additional book is to learn all 39 books of the New Testament.

PRAYER:   Thank God the spiritual and physical blessings He gives His children.

SPECIAL SONGS:   Read, Read Every Day (see February 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #1 on this blog) and The Books Of The New Testament (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3 on this blog. Click on orange circles to hear tunes.)

VISUAL AID:   Bible Map of Jerusalem and Damascus, Large Activity (see below)

  • We have studied about Saul before this lesson (review May 2015 - Lesson - An Introduction To Saul on this blog). We know that Saul was very enthusiastic in persecuting Christians. He was a young man when the Jews were stoning Stephen and they laid their coats at his feet. Saul agreed with the Jews that Stephen should have been stoned. All the things Saul did, he always did with a clear conscience (Acts 23:1).
  • As the church was growing and the persecutions of Christians were continuing, Saul was in the middle of everything. He continued to search out Christians and, when he found them, he not only threatened the followers of Christ, he sometimes killed them. But, in all that Saul did, he did with a pure heart, believing that he was doing the right thing. He did not know he was doing the wrong thing.
  • One day, Saul went to the high priest and requested letters from him. The letters were addressed to the synagogues in Damascus and gave Saul permission to arrest any Christians that he found and he could take them back to Jerusalem with him. It did not matter if the Christians were men or women. He could arrest them and put them in prison in Jerusalem.
  • But, that was not what the Lord wanted. As Saul traveled close to Damascus with the letters from the high priest, suddenly a light from heaven shone all around him! Saul fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" Saul knew it was the Lord's voice because he asked, "Who are you, Lord?" The Lord said, "I am Jesus whom you persecute." Saul was amazed and trembled. He said, "Lord, what do you want me to do?" The Lord said to him, "Get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do." 
  • The men who were traveling with Saul stood by without saying a word. They could hear the voice, but could not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground and opened his eyes. He could see nothing! He was blind! The glory of the light had blinded him (Acts 23:11). The men who were with him had to take Saul by the hand and lead him into Damascus because he could not see. In fact, Saul could not see for three days and nights. He did not drink anything or eat anything.
  • There was a man in Damascus named Ananias. He was a devout man and had a good reputation among the Jews in Damascus (Acts 23:12). The Lord spoke to Ananias in a vision. He said, "Ananias." Ananias said, "Here I am, Lord." Then the Lord went on to tell Ananias to go to the street called Straight and go to the house of Judas and ask for Saul of Tarsus. He was praying there in the house and had seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming into the house, putting his hands on him that he might regain his sight. Ananias was a little concerned about this man named Saul of Tarsus. Ananias asked the Lord, "Lord, I have heard from many people about all the evil he has done to your disciples in Jerusalem. In Damascus, he has the authority from the chief priests to arrest everyone who believes in You." Ananias was nervous, but the Lord said to him, "Go on your way. He is a chosen vessel to me. He will be the one who will tell the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel about Me. I will show him the great things he must suffer for My sake."
  • So, Ananias went to the house of Judas, put his hands on Saul, and said, "Brother Saul, this same Jesus who has appeared to you on the road to Damascus has sent me that you might receive your sight and that you might be filled with the Holy Spirit. Why are you hesitating? Get up and be baptized and wash away your sins." (Acts 23:16). Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes and he could see again! The first thing Saul did was to get up and be baptized just as Ananias had said. Then, he ate some food and was strong again. Saul went immediately and preached that Jesus is the Son of God in the synagogues. 
  • Everyone who heard Saul preaching about Jesus--doing the same thing that he had been arresting Christians for doing--was amazed! But, Saul got stronger and stronger and surprised and confused the Jews who lived in Damascus with his preaching about Christ. 
  • Great things were expected from Saul and he immediately began preaching about Jesus.
"Older Student" Tips:
  • How about us? Could we be doing the wrong things and think that they are the right things to do? How do we know what is right and what is wrong? Today, the Lord does not speak to us as He spoke to Ananias and to Saul because we have something that they did not have. We have the Bible that tells us everything that the Lord wants us to know (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).
  • Judas and Ananias were common names. We should not confuse these names with Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus or Ananias who lied to the Holy Spirit. Both of those men had already died.

ACTIVITY:  Saul on the Road to Damascus
Materials needed:  5" x 7" piece of manila file folder or heavy paper, 1" x 6" dark brown strip of construction paper or cardboard, two 1" x 2" rectangles of leftover file folder or heavy paper, 6" x 12" yellow construction paper, 2" x 6" strip of leftover manila file folder, tape, crayons, marker, scissors.

  1. Hand out 5" x 7" folder. This is the road.
  2. Color road brown.
  3. In one corner, write "Acts 9."
  4. At the bottom of folder, write "Saul On The Road To Damascus"
  5. Hand out brown strip. This is the sign post.
  6. Fold brown strip up 1".
  7. Hand out two 1" x 2" rectangles of folder.
  8. Cut one edge into a point. Write "Jerusalem." Tape to brown sign post.
  9. Cut the the other rectangle into a point and write "Damascus." Tape to brown sign post.
  10. Tape brown strip to another corner of folder. Crease fold with pressure so it will stand up.
  11. Hand out 2" x 6" strip of folder. This is Saul.
  12. Shape one end of strip into the shoulders and head of Saul. Write "Saul" on strip.
  13. Fold Saul twice, up 2" and then again another 2". Saul should look like he is on his knees.
  14. Color both sides of Saul.
  15. Tape Saul's robe to the middle of the road.
  16. Fold Saul down again.
  17. Hand out yellow paper. 
  18. About 3" from bottom of yellow paper, make a small mark. Do this on both sides.
  19. With pencil, lightly draw a curve from mark to mark.
  20. Cut on pencil line.
  21. Roll into a cone shape, leaving a hole in top. This is the light that shone around Saul.
  22. Tape twice on edge to secure. 
  23. Place cone on top of Saul. Looking down into small hole in the top of the cone, student may see Saul on the ground.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Lesson - The Conversion Of The Queen's Treasurer

VERSES:   Acts 8:26-40

MEMORY VERSE:   Acts 8:37  "...And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:  Acts. Write "Acts" on small slips of paper and hand out to the students as they leave class. The purpose is to memorize all of the New Testament books, one book at a time at home.

PRAYER:  Thank God for His simple plan of salvation.

SPECIAL SONG:  How Do Christians Worship God? (see May 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #5 for words to the song on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.) 

VISUAL AID:  Bible map that shows Jerusalem, Ethiopia, Gaza, Azotus, and Caesarea; a large activity either drawn on the white or black board or enlarged activity (see below).

  • The book of Acts is also known as the Book of Conversions. "Conversion" means to change. There are many examples in this book that tell us what others did to become a member of Christ's church. This lesson is only one example.
  • The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip and told him to go toward the south to the place from Jerusalem to Gaza which was desert. Philip did what the angel told him to do and Philip came across a man from Ethiopia who was a man who had great authority under Candace, the queen of the Ethiopians. We do not know this man's name, but we do know that he was in charge of the queen's treasury--he was a very important man. He had been to Jerusalem to worship, and when Philip met him, he was returning to Ethiopia. He was sitting in a chariot, reading from Isaiah, the prophet.
  • The Spirit of the Lord told Philip to get closer to the chariot, so as he ran up to the chariot, he heard the Queen's treasurer reading from Isaiah. Philip asked the treasurer if he understood what he was reading. The treasurer said to Philip, "How can I understand unless someone guides me?" Then he invited Philip to sit in his chariot with him. The queen's treasurer asked Philip who was the prophet referring to in the passage that he had been reading. Philip began there at the same scripture and preached to him all about Jesus.
  • As they traveled on in the chariot and Philip taught this very important man, he must have taught him about baptism as well because as soon as they came to a certain water, the queen's treasurer asked Philip, "See, right here is water. What prevents me from being baptized?" Philip replied, "If you believe with all of your heart, then you may." The man in the chariot answered Philip, "I believe that Jesus is the Son of God." Then the chariot was commanded to stop and the queen's treasurer and Philip both went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip and the queen's treasurer did not see him anymore, but he went on his way, rejoicing.
  • Philip continued preaching and teaching through all the cities from Azotus to Caesarea. 
"Older Student" Tips:
  • What a simple plan of salvation! This example of conversion reinforces what we need to do to be saved.  We need to hear about Jesus (Romans 10:17),  believe that Jesus is the God's only begotten Son (Acts 4:4, 5:14), repent of our sins as those believers did on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:38, confess that Jesus is the Son of God as the Ethiopian did in Acts 8:37, and be baptized in much water (Acts 8:38, 39).  There is no need for a special trip to a certain place for baptism other than a place where there is much water, for example the Ethiopian and Philip "both went down into the water." 
  • It is interesting to notice that the Queen's treasurer must have had some water in some kind of a container since he was traveling through a desert place like Gaza. But, as Philip talks with him, he does not sprinkle or pour water on the Ethiopian; Philip goes down into water with him to baptize him. Certainly, the water at which the chariot stops must have had enough water for both men to walk "down into the water" and "come up out of." No, neither sprinkling nor pouring was the method for the Ethiopian's baptism. It was immersion or a burial in water.
  • What did the queen's treasurer do AFTER he was baptized and after Philip had been taken away? "He went on his way rejoicing" (Acts 8:39). Joy is a byproduct of obedience.
ACTIVITY:  "The Queen's Treasurer" Tear Art Project
Materials needed:  9" x 12" yellow construction paper, 5" x 12" blue construction paper,  5" x 12" light brown construction paper, 4" x 9" dark brown construction paper, two 2" x 4" light orange construction paper, .3" x 4" green construction paper, 3" x 4" any color construction paper, scraps of tan, light green and purple construction paper, crayons, glue.

  1. Hand out yellow paper. This is the background.
  2. Hand out 5" x 12" light brown paper.
  3. Tear outside edges of light brown paper.
  4. Tear down the middle of the light brown paper, length-wise. 
  5. Glue one torn light brown piece of paper in the middle of the yellow paper. This is the desert. Save the other paper for a minute.
  6. Hand out blue paper.
  7. Fold up 2" of blue paper.
  8. Tear edges of blue paper. Keep folded. This is the water; folded to form a small pocket to place Philip as he baptizes the queen's treasurer.
  9. Glue the back of the largest edge of the blue paper and place on the bottom edge of the light brown paper.
  10. Glue sides of blue paper. Press sides to secure.
  11. Glue saved light brown paper to the bottom edge of the yellow paper. This, also, is the desert.
  12. Write "CERTAIN WATER" on light brown paper and draw an arrow to water.
  13. Hand out dark brown paper.
  14. Tear a chariot and a tree trunk out of the dark brown paper.
  15. Glue tree trunk just under the tallest blue edge of paper, hiding the bottom of the tree. Tear to fit. 
  16. Glue the chariot on the right side of the yellow paper, out of the water.
  17. Hand out green paper.
  18. Tear out three or four leaves.
  19. Glue leaves to top of tree trunk.
  20. Hand out light orange papers.
  21. Tear two large circles out of orange paper. These are the chariots wheels.
  22. Glue wheels on to chariot.
  23. Write "CHARIOT" close by the chariot.
  24. Out of light orange or brown scraps, tear a small circle. This is the Ethiopian's head.
  25. Out of tan scraps, tear a small circle. This is Philip's head.
  26. Hand out light green and purple scraps. These are the men's clothes.
  27. Tear a 2" triangle out of the purple scrap. This is the queen's treasurer's clothes.
  28. Glue head on purple clothing.
  29. Tear a 2" triangle out of the light green scrap. This is Philip's clothing.
  30. Tear two 1" strips of light green paper. These are Philip's arms.
  31. Glue arms on light green clothing.
  32. Glue tan head on Philip's clothing.
  33. Color Philip and the treasurer. Set aside.
  34. Tear a 1" square out of tan scrap. Write two or three wiggly lines on it. This is the scripture from Isaiah.  
  35. Glue ONLY one side of scripture to the chariot. By only gluing one side, then Philip and the treasurer can 'read'.
  36. Glue bottom and side edges of any color construction paper to the back of the yellow paper. Make sure the top of the pocket is open, so the two men can rest inside when not in use. Write "POCKET".

  37. The purpose of this project is to 'tell' the story to others which will reinforce the story in the student's mind every time it is told.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Lesson - Simon, The Sorcerer

VERSES:  Acts 8:5-25

MEMORY VERSE:    Acts 8:8    "And there was great joy in that city."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:  Review Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John which are the first four books of the New Testament.

PRAYER:   Pray that our hearts will always be pure and clean from sin. 

SPECIAL SONG:   Be Patient And Kind (see April 2014 - Lesson - Joseph Meets His Brothers Who Hated Him on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)

VISUAL AID:   Large Activity (see below), Bible map showing Samaria

  • The church of the first century was growing. We remember that, because the Christians were being persecuted in Jerusalem, they went everywhere preaching the Word. They scattered through all the regions of Samaria and Judea.
  • During this time, Philip went into Samaria and preached to the people about Christ. When the people heard what Philip was preaching and saw the miracles that he was doing, the people believed. Because the people believed and listened to God's Word, there was great joy in the city.
  • But there was one man named Simon who was a sorcerer which was something like a magician. He used tricks and slight of hand to pretend he could do many signs and wonders. All the people in the city believed that Simon was a great person because of his trickery and that he was a man who had the great power of God. The people listened to whatever Simon said, believed him, and thought he was a great person because he had tricked them for so long.
  • While the people saw Philip performing miracles of healing lame and paralyzed people that they personally had known, then they were convinced that Philip was from God and both men and women were baptized. Simon believed and was baptized, too, and continued to follow Philip, wondering how Philip could do the miracles that he saw him do.
  • When the apostles who were still in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, Peter and John prayed for the people because they could see while the people were already baptized, the Holy Spirit had not come. So, Peter and John laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, so he, too, could have that same power. He said, "Give me this power."
  • But Peter said to Simon, "Your money will perish with you because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money. You are not included in any of this because your heart is not right with God! Repent or have godly sorrow and pray that God will forgive you of this wickedness. I can see that you are in the bond of sin!" Simon was sorry for what he had asked and requested that Peter pray to the Lord for him, so that none of the things that Peter had said would happen to Simon.
  • When Peter and John had preached the Word of the Lord to the many villages in Samaria, they returned to Jerusalem. Next time we will see what happened to Philip!
"Older Student" Tips:
  • These early days of the first century church were unusual. The apostles and men like Philip needed to perform miracles because they had to prove that they were from God. Simon had been tricking the people with tricks; Simon was not sent from God to preach to the people and perform miracles. He was deceiving the people through trickery! In order for the people to know who was from God and who was not, they needed to have credentials or something to prove that God had sent them. Their credentials were performing miracles.
  • We do not need miracles or the laying on of the apostles' hands today because we have the complete Bible, the Old and New Testaments. God's Word is all we need today (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). Today, if someone wants to know if what is said is true, they simply go to the Bible and read. People could not do that in those times; the entire Bible had not been written, yet.
  • One good lesson we can learn from the story about Simon, the sorcerer, is that once someone is baptized and then they sin, they do not need to be baptized again, they only need to do what Peter told Simon to do when he sinned. What did Peter tell Simon? Repent and pray for forgiveness. That is what Christians need to do when they sin (Romans 3:23).
  • 1 John 1:7-10 are good verses about sin. Do we all sin? (Re-read Romans 3:23). What cleanses us from all sin? What happens when we say we have no sin? God forgives Christians of sins, but what must they do first? (Confess or admit their sins). If we say we have not sinned, what do we make God? 
ACTIVITY:   Simon's Sin
Materials needed:  9" x 12" construction paper (any light color), crayons.
  1. Hand out paper.
  2. Fold paper in half, length-wise.
  3. Fold again in half, length-wise.
  4. Unfold.
  5. Trace on folded lines.
  6. Draw a line from the top line to the bottom of the paper 2" from the left edge.
  7. In TOP PANEL:  Write "Thy heart is not right..." and "Acts 8:5-25."
  8. In SECOND PANEL:  Write "Who?" in first small box. Write "Simon, the sorcerer" in the second box.
  9. In THIRD PANEL:  Write "Sin?" in the first small box. Write "Wanted to buy power from the apostles" in the second box.
  10. In FOURTH PANEL:  Write "Solution?" in the first small box. Write "Repent and Pray" in second box.
  11. Fold up before leaving class.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Lesson - The Spreading Of The Gospel

VERSES:  Acts 8:1-4

MEMORY VERSE:    Acts 8:4  "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   John.  Write "John" on small slips of paper and hand out at the end of class to encourage the students to memorize one more New Testament book at home. Since this a shorter lesson than most, review the first four books of the New Testament and all 39 books of the Old Testament. Perhaps singing The Books Of The Old Testament (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3) and The Books Of The New Testament -(see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3 on this blog for words. Click orange circles for tunes.)

PRAYER:  Pray for the countries in the world that are in troublesome times. May God be with them and protect those who love and serve Him.

SPECIAL SONG:  Acts 8:4 (see June 2015 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #7 on this blog for words. Click on orange circle to hear tune.) and This Little Light Of Mine (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3 on this blog for words. Click on orange circle to hear tune.) 

VISUAL AID:  Large Activity (see below), map of the areas of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

  • After Stephen was killed by stoning, strong and fearless Christian men saw to it that Stephen had a funeral. They carried him to where he was to be buried and lamented or grieved and were very sad that he had died.
  • During the time that Stephen was killed by the Jews simply for preaching and teaching about Jesus and performing wonders and miracles that no one could do if God was not with them, there was a great persecution against the church at Jerusalem. A persecution is when a group of people treats another group of people with hostility and violence, simply because there is a disagreement on political or religious beliefs. At this time, Christians were being treated terribly. They were being hurt, imprisoned, mistreated and some were even killed.
  • Because of this persecution, the Christians scattered everywhere. Instead of everyone staying only in Jerusalem, Christians went to different cities and different countries and when they went, they continued to preach the Word. They went to Judea and Samaria, all but the apostles. The apostles stayed in Jerusalem and continued to teach and preach about Jesus to the people living there. 
  • As far as Saul was concerned, he tried to destroy the church. He entered into every house, and pulled out the Christians. It did not matter if they were men or women; if they were Christians, he took them to prison.
  • All persecution is not all bad. Yes, the hurting and treating people badly is not good, but, by Christians going every which way to escape the hardship in Jerusalem, the gospel went wherever the Christians went because they did not stop preaching and teaching about Jesus. 
"Older Student" Tips:
  • Today, we can talk to people on the other side of the world on the telephone, cell phone, or computer just by entering a few numbers or words. In the first century, there was no technology like we have now. How was the Gospel--the good news about Jesus--spread so that it went to different countries? People took it with them in their hearts and told others about the Son of God and the church He purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28). As people fled Jerusalem, the Christians spread the Gospel by word of mouth. They talked about what they believed in and the good news was passed on to one person at a time.
  • Times of persecution weeds out the fainthearted. Only those Christians who loved the Lord with their whole heart and were committed to the cause of Christ endured the difficult times. Christians, today, are not always treated as the Christians were in the days of the early church. We need to prepare ourselves, though. There may come time when Christians are mistreated. What will we do? Will we be strong and fearless and bold like many were back then? We should always love the Lord with all of our heart, all of of our soul, and all of our might. (Deuteronomy 6:5).
ACTIVITY:  "The Spreading of the Gospel"
Materials needed:  9" x 12" light brown construction paper, white bond paper, marker, crayons, small star sticker, glue.

  1. Hand out white paper. This is the map which does not need to be perfect. Let the students draw their own maps. They are capable, will learn from it, and be proud!
  2. Looking at Bible map, draw a wiggly line starting at about four inches from the left top of the paper and and finishing in bottom left hand corner of paper with black marker. This is the coastline.
  3. Draw a small 1" lopsided circle about 4 inches down in the middle of the white paper. This is the Sea of Galilee.
  4. Towards the bottom of the middle of the white paper lines up with the Sea of Galilee, draw a long oval with a hook on the right side. This is the Dead Sea.
  5. Connect these two shapes together by drawing a line from one to another. This is the Jordan River.
  6. Looking at the Bible map, draw an upward wiggly line from about the middle of the two shapes to the long left line.
  7. Draw a shadow of the line in Step #6 almost to the coastline. This is Samaria.
  8. Draw a wiggly line from almost the bottom of the Dead Sea to the coast line. This Judea.
  9. Draw a line along the coastline from the middle of Samaria to the bottom of Judea. This is the land of the Philistines which will not be labeled.
  10. Label Samaria and Judea.
  11. In the middle of Judea, make a black dot with the marker. This is Jerusalem.
  12. Label the dot Jerusalem.
  13. Above Samaria, write, "Acts 8:1." 
  14. All along the left side of the the Jordan River, write, "...And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles."
  15. Color Samaria, Judea, and the word Jerusalem.
  16. Match the names in the verse to the same color of the regions and city. Color the same color.
  17. Color all of the words of the verse and "Acts 8:1" yellow.
  18. Color the water blue.
  19. Color all of countries around Samaria and Judea brown.
  20. Place star sticker on top of the black dot beside Jerusalem.
  21. Glue the map on the light brown construction paper for a frame.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Lesson - Introduction to Saul

VERSES:  Acts 8:1

MEMORY VERSE:  Acts 8:1  "And Saul was consenting unto his death..."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:  "Luke"  Write "Luke" on small slips of paper and hand out at the end of class, so the students may take them home to memorize.

PRAYER:  May we always be strong and committed to Christ no matter what comes in our life. We know that bad things will happen along the way. We need to be prepared with a strong faith and love of Our Savior.

SPECIAL SONG:  This Little Light Of Mine (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3 on this blog for words. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)

VISUAL AID:   Large Activity (see below).  Write facts with verses about Saul on the whiteboard or chalkboard. This will reinforce the facts in young minds and it will also be a visual aid for the students' activity below.

  • We remember when Stephen was stoned and died that the Jews who stoned him laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul (Acts 7:58).
  • Saul had agreed with the Jews that they should have killed Stephen by stoning him. Saul believed that the Jews were doing the right thing and Stephen was doing the wrong thing (Acts 8:1). 
  • Saul always had a strong commitment to God. He never went against his conscience (Acts 23:1).
  • Saul's name was changed to Paul (Acts 13:9, 13). Saul and Paul was the same person.
  • Saul's father was a Pharisee--one of the important Jews who was on a council. (Acts 23:6).
  • Saul had a sister (Acts 23:16) and she had a son who would have been Saul's nephew. This same nephew once saved Saul's life (Acts 23:16-31).
  • Saul was also a Roman citizen which would be an important fact in Saul's later life.
  • Saul was born in Tarsus (Acts 22:3).
  • Saul learned how to make tents (Acts 18:3).
  • Saul was baptized by Ananias in Damascus (Acts 9:10, 18).
  • Before Saul was baptized, he persecuted the church (Acts 8:3).
  • Because he was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and one who injured others, Paul considered himself the chiefest of sinners, yet the things he did to Christians, he did ignorantly in unbelief (1 Timothy 1:13-15). He did not know he was doing wrong until he was taught, then he lived in a totally opposite way for the rest of his life. Paul was an example of repentance.
  • Paul went on three missionary journeys in the book of Acts.
  • Saul, or Paul as he was also called, wrote a great portion of the New Testament letters: Romans (Romans 1:1), 1 Corinthians (1 Corinthians 1:1), 2 Corinthians (2 Corinthians 1:1), Galatians (Galatians 1:1), Ephesians (Ephesians 1:1); Philippians (Philippians 1:1), Colossians (Colossians 1:1), 1 Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 1:1), 2 Thessalonians (2 Thessalonians 1:1), 1 Timothy (1 Timothy 1:1), 2 Timothy (2 Timothy 1:1), Titus (Titus 1:1), and Philemon (Philemon 1:1),. Some people say that Hebrews was written by Paul, but it is unclear because he did not sign the letter like he did in all of his other letters (2 Thessalonians 3:17). Certainly, Paul wrote 13 letters that can be proven. 
  • Paul suffered many things for Christ's sake: Five different times, the Jews had whipped him 39 times; three times he had been beaten with rods; he was stoned once; three times he suffered shipwreck; a night and a day, he was in the ocean; he suffered the dangers of water, danger of robbers, dangers of the Jews and the Gentiles, dangers in the city and in the wilderness, dangers among false teachers; he was weary, in pain, had gone without sleep, was hungry and thirsty, was cold, went without the proper clothes and was in prison many times. Paul also worried about the congregations of the Lord's church. Paul suffered much by being a Christian, but he endured.
  • After all that Paul endured in his life, some of his last words were, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7, 8).
"Older Student" Tips:
  • The name Saul was a noble Jewish name. We remember that the first king of the Israelites had this same name--King Saul. When Saul's name was changed, it was changed to "Paul" which meant "little one." Saul was a prominent name; Paul was a humble name.
ACTIVITY:  "All About Paul"
Materials needed:  Any color 4" x 10" construction paper, 3" x 5" index cards or construction paper, marker or pen, stapler, staples, small piece of tape.

  1. Hand out 4" x 10" construction paper.
  2. Fold construction paper about 4 inches up and 2 inches down to form a pocket.
  3. Staple two sides of the pocket.
  4. Write "ALL ABOUT SAUL" on the front. Cross the "S" out and write a "P" for Paul.
  5. Hand out about 15 cards.
  6. By looking at the white board, the student may write a fact about Saul on each card. (See above under LESSON POINTS for facts. Good idea to include verses!)
  7. Place all cards inside pocket.
  8. If time permits, pair up the class in groups of two or three students. See how many facts they know about Saul.
  9. Before leaving class, make sure all cards are in their pockets and secured with a small strip of tape.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Lesson - The Stoning Of Stephen

VERSES:  Acts 6:8-7:60

MEMORY VERSE:  Acts 7:58 "...and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet whose name was Saul."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:  Mark.  Write "Mark" on small slips of paper and pass out to students at the end of class to take home and memorize.

PRAYER:  Pray that we will always stand up for God, be strong and knowledgeable followers of Christ, and always defend Truth.

SPECIAL SONG:  How Do Christians Worship God? (see May 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #5 on this blog. Click on orange circle for tune.)

VISUAL AID:  Large Activity (either draw on whiteboard or chalkboard, or make a large copy of the Activity on paper.)

  • We read about Stephen being one of the men who helped divide food among the people in the early days of the church. Stephen was a good man who was filled with the Holy Spirit and was very wise and honest. After the apostles had laid their hands on him, Stephen was full of faith and power and did many great signs and miracles in front the people.
  • In the synagogue where the Jews worshiped God and also were taught the law, there were certain important Jews who argued with Stephen. Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit which was from God. The Jews should have respected Stephen and listened to him, but they did not. Instead, they stirred up the people. The elders and scribes caught Stephen and took him to the Jewish council where the high priest was present. The Jews arranged for false witnesses to come before the council and tell lies about Stephen.
  • All who were in the council looked intently at Stephen and saw his face look like the face of an angel. The high priest asked Stephen if what he had heard was true. Then Stephen began to tell the high priest and all of the other Jews who were in the room about the history of the Jews in just a few words. He told them about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He talked about the twelve sons of Jacob and how Joseph saved all of their lives. Stephen then told everyone about Moses and how he had led them out of slavery and into the Promised Land. He spoke of King David and Solomon. All of the words that Stephen spoke were from God. Stephen finally called the ones who were listening stubborn just like their fathers had been. He said that they were the ones who had killed Jesus.
  • The Jews did not like what Stephen said at all! Yet, they were convicted in their hearts because they knew that everything Stephen said was true. They were so angry that they hurt Stephen, but Stephen looked up intently into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right side of God. When Stephen told the angry Jews what he was seeing, they could not take it anymore! The Jews cried out with a very loud voice, put their hands up to their ears, and ran with uncontrolled rage at Stephen. They picked up stones and began throwing the stones at Stephen. They all laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. Stephen called out and said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." He then knelt down and cried out, "Lord, do not blame them for this." Then Stephen died.
  • Had Stephen done anything wrong? No! He died at the hands of men who should have known that he was a good and honest man, and was obedient to God, but they killed him instead.
"Older Student" Tips:
  • Stephen was the first Christian martyr. A martyr is someone who dies for their religious beliefs. 
  • We want to notice where the Jews laid their coats at the stoning of Stephen--at the feet of a young man named Saul. Saul becomes an important person as we study the book of Acts as we will find out next time.
  • Acts 7 is a great chapter that tells the history of the Jews in a few words.
  • At different times in the New Testament, it will mention that Jesus is sitting on the right hand of God, but we notice at the stoning of Stephen, He was standing.
ACTIVITY:   The Stoning of Stephen
Materials needed:  9" x 12" yellow construction paper, 4" x 7" tan construction paper, 4" x 12" brown construction paper, scraps of dark brown or gray, tan, white, and various bright colors of paper, two cotton balls, marker, crayons, scissors, glue.

  1. Hand out yellow paper.
  2. Hand out brown paper,
  3. Glue brown paper to the bottom of the yellow paper. This is the road outside the city.
  4. Either copy off the blackline of Stephen or have the students draw Stephen to fit in the bottom left corner of the yellow paper. (If you choose to copy the paper below on paper, it may be helpful to also write and copy the words in Steps 21-23 below.)
  5. Cut small triangles out of colored paper and two smaller long rectangles. These are the robes and arms of the Jews.
  6. Cut small brown or gray circles for the stones.
  7. Cut a few larger stones.
  8. Cut tiny tan circles for the Jewish faces.
  9. Color Stephen and glue him on top of the road and yellow paper, in a corner. Make sure Stephen is not looking at the Jews, but up in the clouds.
  10. Glue arms on all robes. It is nice if the arms are glued in an upward position, showing the Jews' anger.
  11. Glue small tan circles on the robes. These are the Jew's faces.
  12. Draw angry faces on the Jews.
  13. Glue Jews on brown paper.
  14. Glue a stone in each of the Jews' hands.
  15. Glue larger stones closer to Stephen than the Jews.
  16. Fold up one arm of the people to their ears to resemble the Jews stopping up their ears.
  17. Hand out cotton balls. These are the clouds.
  18. "Thin" out cotton balls by spreading the cotton with the students' fingers.
  19. Glue cotton a little lower than the corner of the yellow paper opposite of Stephen. Make sure there is room for Jews and God above the clouds.
  20. Draw "the glory of God" and Jesus standing on the right side of God above the clouds. Label is necessary or desired.
  21. On white scrap paper, write "I see the heavens opened and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." Cut into a speech bubble, pointing to Stephen's mouth.
  22. On white scrap paper, write "They cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him..." Cut out and glue close to the angry Jews.
  23. On white scrap paper, write, "...and they stoned Stephen..." Cut out and glue to the bottom of the brown paper.
  24. Write "The Stoning of Stephen" and "Acts 7" on the top of the yellow paper.