Sunday, March 19, 2017

Fruit of the Spirit Prayer

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" Galatians 5:22-23

I'm in charge of the project center for the elementary age kids at church. I try to come up with a craft to help the kids apply the Bible stories they learn, and to apply the Bible verses they hear to their life. I will usually include in the craft some kind of cutting, gluing, and coloring assignment, but the overall goal is application. It doesn't always change your life when you make a craft. I'm not saying God can't work in this way. But normally, it takes a little more than the cutting and gluing. 

The point of making a project with the kids is to get them to think in more depth on the subject. I love doing crafts with the kids. But I love it even more when the craft brings them closer to knowing Jesus. 

This week we studied the Fruit of the Spirit. When we are growing in Christ, these fruit should be apparent in our lives. We had a quiet time of reflection. I went through this prayer letter that I designed for the kids, and explained what each fruit means. I explained it as simple as I could.  

Some of the harder fruits I had to explain again to them... 

Joy. Happiness is what we feel when good things are happening to us. Joy is a choice. Joy means we choose to have a good attitude even if things are going wrong. Joy is when we celebrate the good that God does. 

Gentleness. Sometimes when we are upset we let our voice sound really mad. We yell at people. Gentleness helps us to talk nicely and sweetly. It's not using an angry voice. It's making sure we care about the other person's feelings.

Peace. When we are afraid, or angry we get really upset. God's peace helps us to calm down. We know that He is going to help us, and take care of everything we need. It's being happy with what we have.

Faithfulness. Being faithful is about keeping your promises. When you say you will do something, you do it. You can't change your mind and hurt your friends feelings. 

Self-control. I am in control of my body. I decide what I will say, and what I will do. It means I don't yell when I'm angry. I don't hit other people. I make sure to not lose my temper.

I encouraged them to talk with Jesus as they wrote out their prayer. This wasn't time to talk to their neighbor, or to be silly with their friends. This was time with Jesus. If they had questions, they could quietly raise their hand and I would come help. I explained words better to them, I spelled out words for them to write, and I read the hard to read words like "patience". 

It was so neat to see all the kids writing out their prayers. They were talking with Jesus. I know God was smiling. If these kids can learn at a young age what God's voice sounds like, when they are old it will be second nature to them to dialogue with Him. He cares about all details of their lives. He listens. He answers. He comforts us. He is with us.  With His help, we are able to have these fruit in our lives. Jesus is what makes the difference.

Fruit of the Spirit prayer coloring page for kids

Thursday, March 2, 2017

More Animals for God

My class loved being animals for God a couple of years ago.

 Scripture verses and goals for the year for kids. Growth capsules object lesson

In fact, as we were all gathered around our glasses of water this year, watching the sponges transform into animals, a former student from my class walked into the room. She remarked to everyone, "I still have my animal! I miss being in this class." High praise indeed.

Remember the growth capsules you used to get as a little kid? They looked like colored medicine, and when you put them in warm water, they grew into a sponge. You never knew exactly what you were getting. It was so fun to be surprised with a different shape. I don't remember doing anything with the sponges after they had grown; the whole point was watching them change.

animals for God

I found a pack of 12 capsules at the Toy Store. Dollar Tree was completely out of their packs. I spent a little more for my animals, but I also got a bigger variety. Everyone in my class got to be a different animal for God this time.

Again, after much prayer, and help from my mother and Gabriel, I came up with index cards of information for each animal. I used this as an object lesson on growth for my second and third grade class at church. The kids were going to have the opportunity to be a safari animal for God. I found a Bible verse to go with each animal, and I tried to highlight different characteristics I thought the animal might exhibit.

animals for God with Bible verse

When you see the capsules, you have no idea what animal you will be getting. You choose what color you like, and the animal is a surprise, a theme for the year. The kids in my class got so into this. Everyone was excited to see what God had for them this year.

If you would like to download a PDF version of the files, click here.

Romans 1:16 ostrich

Proverbs 28:1 Lion

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Wildebeest

James 1:19 Cheetah

1 Corinthians 10:13 Rhinoceros

2 Timothy 2:22 Kudu

Psalm 71:8 Monkey

1 Timothy 4:12 Hippo

Deuteronomy 4:29 Anteater

Philippians 1:9 Elephant

Ephesians 6:11 Zebra

Philippians 3:14 Giraffe

The anticipation for the kids in finding out their animal was great! They loved it. I hope and pray they continue to walk in the footsteps of their animal.

anteater
My son is part of the 2nd and 3rd grade class that I teach. He too came home with an animal for God. He brought home the anteater. His card was a little weathered and worn by the time I got to take a picture of it. But that makes it more special. His card was placed in a spot of honor that he could daily look at. I love that God gave him the anteater. The anteater will gobble up God's word, and has a sticky tongue to quickly remember all the promises of God. THIS IS SO TRUE! My son loves to memorize scriptures more than anyone else I know. He has a definite hunger for the word of God. AND he always seems to remember the verses that he has learned. My son really does have a sticky tongue for God's promises!

These animals might seem a little silly, but God can use the silly to speak to our hearts. There is no limit to the way God works. I love the innocence of children. This makes them very trusting. Their ears and eyes are open to all the ways of God, even if it's a little sponge capsule that reveals an animal with a message.  They hear God's voice, and answer to His call.

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