Friday, March 30, 2012

Palm Sunday Lesson Plans

Based on the Palm Sunday story, Hanna’s Parade is about the donkey that carried Jesus into Jerusalem.
Hanna’s Parade

Once there was a young donkey named Hanna. She lived with a merchant named Boaz. Each day, He would load merchandise on his donkeys and travel to Jerusalem. There, he would sell them in the marketplace.
Hanna was unable to go. She could only walk a short distance before she would get tired and have to stop. If anything were placed on her back, she would collapse under the weight. Hanna was so sad. She wanted to work like the other donkeys.
Boaz loved Hanna. He brought in wise men from all over the country to examine her. They poked and prodded, but nobody could cure her.
“We don’t know what the problem is,” said one of the wise men. “She may never be able to work.”
Boaz was very sad. He didn’t know what to do.
“Don’t worry Hanna,” said Boaz. “God created you for a reason.”
Each day, Hanna watched Boaz leave for Jerusalem. She had to stay in the stable. After the servants fed her, she would be alone for the rest of the day.
Hanna prayed, “Dear God, I want to be healthy and go to Jerusalem.”
She sat down in the warm hay and fell asleep, dreaming of traveling to Jerusalem.
The next day, Boaz had an idea. His servants took Hanna to the front of the house. There, she could watch the people pass on their way to Jerusalem.
“I think you will be happier here,” said Boaz as he rubbed Hanna’s neck.
Hanna watched her master leave for Jerusalem. This was a nice change, but she really wanted to join them. Hanna imagined what it would be like in the city.
It must be wonderful, she thought.
Around noon, two men came and untied Hanna. One of the servants questioned the men.
“Why are you untying my master’s donkey?”
“The Lord needs it and will send it back shortly,” said the men.
Startled by their explanation, the servant let them take Hanna.
Hanna wondered where she was going. She was getting very tired, but did not want to stop.
They took her to a man named Jesus.
He leaned down and whispered to Hanna, “Do not be afraid. God’s power is strongest in those that are weak.”
Hanna heard the words, but didn’t know exactly what they meant.
The men with Jesus placed their cloaks on Hanna. Her legs began to shake and she thought she might fall down. Then, Jesus sat on her back. She had never had anyone ride her before. He was so heavy, how could she carry him?
“Let’s go to Jerusalem,” said Jesus as he patted Hanna’s neck.
Hanna took a step and then, another one. With each step, she felt stronger. Soon, she was trotting confidently towards Jerusalem.
“I’m going to Jerusalem!” she shouted.
As they approached the city, many people lay down cloaks and palm branches in their path. They also shouted praises.
“Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord – the King of Israel!”
Others shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in Heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!”
Still others added, “Long live the King!”
The streets were lined on each side with people praising Jesus. And there in the middle of it all was Hanna. She was leading the parade through the middle of the city straight for the marketplace.
Boaz noticed all the excitement.
“What’s going on?” he asked one of the people heading towards the parade.
“Don’t you know?” asked the man. “Jesus is coming!”
Boaz had heard about Jesus and wanted to see him. He left one of his servants to watch the merchandise and ran towards the crowd.
The crowd was huge and Boaz was a small man. He fought his way through the crowd until he was in front of the Temple.
Jesus climbed off Hanna and walked towards Boaz. He looked directly at him.
“Her faith has healed her,” said Jesus.
“Thank you Lord,” said Boaz.
Boaz ran to Hanna and threw his arms around her. He was so happy.
That evening, Hanna carried the largest load back home. She told the other donkeys all that had happened. They all praised God for her healing.


Hanna’s Parade – Key Concepts
A Parable About Faith & Healing

1. Hanna wanted to work like the other donkeys. Her heart’s desire was to serve her master and work like everyone else. The illness made it impossible for her to work. You must remember that God wants to give you the desires of your heart. It is His will for you to be healthy, happy and fully capable of giving Him your best.
2. The wise men that examined Hanna couldn’t solve the problem. God has given knowledge to doctors, scientists and healthcare professionals. In addition, He has placed healing abilities within your body and filled the earth with plants, minerals and chemicals that can be used to treat illness. But you must remember that God is the ultimate Healer/Doctor. When you place your trust in God and put His Word first in your life, it makes healing, whether natural, through medical assistance, or through the supernatural all that more certain.
3. The wise men unwisely gave an evil report (negative confession): “She may never be able to work.” Your words are capable of releasing faith or doubt and unbelief. It is important that you never say words that are contrary to God’s Word and reject anything that you hear that is inconsistent with what you know you have in Christ. When you speak in agreement to God’s Word, you are always speaking the truth.
4. Boaz had faith in God. He knew that it was not God’s will for Hanna to be sick and unable to work. You cannot do your best for God if you are hindered by sickness or lack.
5. Hanna asked God to heal her. God always hears the prayers of believers, and faith-filled prayers are always answered.
6. Boaz was inspired to tie Hanna up in front of his house. As believers, God is always at work in your life. He gives you inspiration to do the things to help others. It is your responsibility to have a willing spirit and listen to the Holy Spirit’s direction. When you have your spiritual ears tuned in, you can be most effective in helping others and doing God’s work. Don’t be surprised to see God at work in your life. Be ready to be obedient to His request. It may seem strange, but it will always be in agreement to His Word.
7. As Hanna watched the people head towards Jerusalem, she imagined herself healthy, strong and traveling with them. This is an important step for all believers. God sees you healthy, prosperous and full of joy. Changing a self-image is an important step to realizing your full potential. Start seeing yourself the way God sees you.
8. After the men took Hanna to Jesus, she felt tired and doubts entered her mind, but in her heart (spirit) she still believed she was healed and would go to Jerusalem. This is real faith. Faith knows you have something when you can’t see, taste, or touch it. Faith is not hope. Hope is in the future. Faith is right now! When you study the Bible and pray, your faith will increase. Just like exercise will build muscles, speaking and reading God’s Word will build your faith where you can know you have your prayer answered before you see it or feel it.
9. Jesus told Hanna, “Do not be afraid. God’s Power is strongest in those that are weak.” It is important that you never have any fear. Fear is the opposite of faith and it is in fact a sin. When you accept Jesus as your Lord, you receive a new spirit. You are no longer weak because Jesus becomes your strength. And you do not need to fear because God’s love will remove all your fear.
10. When Jesus said, “Let’s go to Jerusalem” he was releasing his faith to heal Hanna. When you speak faith-filled words that are in agreement with God’s Word, miracles happen! Hanna heard the words and agreed with them. As she took the first step of faith and shouted in agreement with Jesus, her healing was complete and she was on her way to Jerusalem!
11. After Hanna was healed, she joyfully served her master and shared her story with the other donkeys. What a wonderful story you can share with your friends when you see miracles in your life! Start believing today that God makes good things happen in your life every day. Expect miracles and you will be amazed at what God will do!

Putting It All Together
Faith comes from hearing the Word of God.
You can build your faith by speaking God’s Word and only speaking things that agree with the Bible.
You will get your prayers answered when you ask in agreement with God’s will, believe in your heart that God heard your prayer and that you have what you asked, even if you do not see it, hold it or feel it.
Confession (speaking, believing, knowing) comes before possession.
Most people want to see, feel or hold something first before they will believe they have it. This is backwards. It takes no faith to believe in something you see or are already holding. Faith says: “I believe I have it” and then you do have it. That is the God-kind of faith.


Dear God, thank You for giving us times of
joy and celebration. Help us to remember
that Jesus is the King over all things and
we need to praise and worship Him.
In Jesus' Name. Amen.

We will also be making palm’s leaves and coloring in a Palm Sunday picture as well as an anagram about Easter.
Below you will see an extra story that I will be reading while the kids are eating there snacks.
The King Is Coming!
            The dusty roads leading into Jerusalem were anything but quiet. A buzz of excitement filled the air as preparations for Passover, the biggest holiday of the year, were being made. It seemed that everyone from everywhere was trying to get to Jerusalem to celebrate. But it wasn't only people . . .
           The roads were crowded with donkeys and camels which was the common form of transportation, and not only that, most people also brought other animals with them. The bleating of sheep, the mooing of cows and the cooing of doves could all be heard, as well as the laughing and singing of children. The mood was boisterous and joyous as people greeted old friends and family members they hadn't seen since the previous year.
           "Hey! There's Uncle Ezra and Aunt Mary." Joshua excitedly exclaimed to his father. "Is it all right if I go the rest of the way with them?" he asked.
           "If it's okay with them, I don't mind," his father replied. "Just make sure to hold onto that goat! If that goat gets away, there will be no feast for you, young man," his father teased as he toussled Joshua's hair.
           Holding onto that goat was no small feat for Joshua. It seemed that the animal was always wanting to go in the wrong direction, and when it did go the right way it was only because it was trying to get into another person's feed sacks. Joshua tugged and pulled, and with much struggle, finally caught up to his Uncle Ezra, Aunt Mary, and their children.
           "That goat of yours is giving you a difficult time, is it?" Uncle Ezra questioned with a grin. Joshua gave the rope another tug and nodded. "Well, we will be there shortly," Uncle Ezra said. "I'll take the goat off your hands for a little while. You and Samuel haven't seen each other in so long; you have a lot of catching up to do. Go, run and play, but . . . remember to stay close. Don't go wandering off where we can't see you."
           Joshua and his cousin Samuel pulled a couple of figs out of their sacks and dashed to the edge of the road to sit under a tree to have their snack. They chattered almost non-stop about the Passover. "No school for eight whole days!" Joshua said excitedly. "Just think of the fun we can have!"
           Samuel was more excited about the celebration meals. "There's going to be so much food!"  he exclaimed. "Not only are we out of school for eight days, but we also get to eat for eight days!" The boys were so caught up in their excitement, they forgot that the crowd was moving along, passing them by. Uncle Ezra and Aunt Mary were nowhere to be seen. Jumping up quickly, they hurriedly squeezed their way through the crowd trying to catch up, hoping that they hadn't been missed.
           As the boys were trying to catch up to Samuel's parents, they passed a small building that had a mother donkey and her young colt tied to a post. "Aw, look at the little colt," Samuel said gently, as he reached out and tried to pet it.
           "Yee Haw!" the mother donkey screeched, unhappy that someone was trying to touch her baby. Samuel quickly pulled his hand back and put it in his pocket.
           As the two boys stood there admiring the little colt, two men, who were Jesus' disciples, came along and started to untie the donkey and the colt. "Yee Haw!" the donkey screeched again. Hearing the commotion, the owner came out of the building.
           "What are you doing?" he questioned. "Why are you loosing the animals?"
           The two disciples, having had a previous discussion with Jesus, were ready for this question and knew just what to say. "The Lord needs these animals," was the simple reply they gave the owner.
           The owner didn't question further. He let the two men take the animals.
           Now, that made Samuel and Joshua curious. They wanted to know who the "Lord" was and why he needed the donkey and the little colt. They followed closely and quietly behind the two men.
           Just outside the town, they watched as the men took off their overcoats and laid them on the little colt. Samuel and Joshua were quite surprised that the little colt wasn't fearful at all, and this time even the mother donkey didn't seem to mind that someone was touching her baby. They watched as a man got up on the colt and started riding it into town.
           "How can he do that?" they heard someone from the crowd ask. "How can he get on and ride a little colt that has never been trained?"
           "And just look at that mother donkey," someone else exclaimed. "She doesn't seem to mind at all!"
           Most of the people in the crowd recognized the man who was riding the little colt. They had heard his teachings, and many had seen at least one miracle. "It's Jesus! It's Jesus!" they loudly proclaimed. Many of them took the garments they had brought with them for the week of celebration and laid them on the ground. Other people had brought palm branches on their trip to fan themselves, and they laid those on the ground. Some of them used their palm branch fans to wave in the air, causing a breeze to keep Jesus cool and comfortable.
           Even the children joined in! Samuel, Joshua, and some of the other young people climbed nearby trees to get more palm branches to lay on the ground. They made a long carpet out of clothing and palm branches, reaching all the way down the road and into town for the donkey and the colt carrying Jesus to walk on. All the while they were laying garments and palm branches on the ground, they were waving and shouting, "HOSANNA! HOSANNA! Blessed be the King that comes in the name of the Lord! BLESSED BE THE KING! HOSANNA!"
           The people in the crowd had recognized that day that JESUS is the KING of all the earth. They recognized Him as their Messiah who would one day rule over everything. But there were a few people that were not happy about all this. Some of the Pharisees (teachers in the temple) told Jesus to tell the people to stop shouting and to stop calling Him the King, and to stop worshipping Him.
           Jesus responded to the Pharisees saying: "If these people were to be quiet and not worship Me as their King, then the rocks would cry out in worship." Jesus and the donkey, and the colt continued on their way into the city of Jerusalem, as the shouts of the people continued. "HOSANNA! HOSANNA! Blessed be the King that comes in the name of the Lord! BLESSED BE THE KING! HOSANNA!"
           Joshua and Samuel were excited and had certainly never seen anything like that before, but they were beginning to get nervous and worried. They were afraid they were going to be scolded for not staying nearby. When they finally reached Samuel's parents, they timidly tried to explain. "Please don't be angry. There was such a huge crowd of people, and there was so much happening, we couldn't help it. We got lost in the crowd."
           They were pleasantly surprised when they were told that Uncle Ezra, Aunt Mary, and the other children had also been slowed down by the great crowd of people who gathered around Jesus, and they had kept their eyes on the boys the whole time. They all agreed that it was a wonderful way to begin the great Passover week celebration.
  • Why were so many people going to Jerusalem?
  • How many days did they celebrate Passover?
  • Who untied the donkey and the colt?
  • What did the people spread on the road?
  • What did the people shout?
  • What was Jesus' reply when the Pharisees told Him
       to make the people stop worshipping Him?

Jesus is the King!

"Blessed be the King that cometh in the name
of the Lord" (Luke

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Update on Sunday School for March 18, 2012


Worship God

Welcome to the wacky worship workshop...where we learn about building our relationship with Jesus.


The set: set up the room like a workshop with all kind of wacky inventions. The weirder it looks the better. Try obtaining some old science equipment or old computer components that can be taken apart to make the room look like a crazy inventor inhabits the room.

This week: We will discover that the first thing that must go into our relationship with Christ is worship. The crazy inventor will try to create an invention that doesn't have any use or purpose...(the purpose of our existence is to worship and glorify God. If we don't recognize and acknowledge who God is our relationship is hollow and empty and useless)


To teach the children that:

• That we need to recognize who God is.

• God wants us to tell him how wonderful he is

• We need to be more excited about how awesome God is than about how great Brett Farve is.

• The first thing we should do when we pray is worship God because of who he is.

Characters needed: The crazy inventor, his faithful assistant, smudge (who always tries to wreck stuff) one or two workshop workers and Einstein the puppet and Bobo the puppet.


It sometimes seems to get old to review the rules week after week, but it is very important to do it anyways. Maintaining control is crucial to effective teaching.

1. No illegal movement: Stay put in the workshop...hands and feet to yourself

2. No interference: Quiet in the workshop...great minds at work

3. Go for the touch down: Lets have fun praising the Lord


Remember to spend time in prayer this week for the children in our service. God is able to do great and powerful things when we seek his face. God has great things in store for us this week. Have you been faithful to seek his anointing and leading?


The crazy inventor comes in with his arms loaded with junk and is going to build something wonderful (but he doesn't know what). He proceeds to build adding cranks that don't crank anything and buttons that don't work. He can carry on about how wonderful this invention is until he is done and then can't figure out what it is for. The leader who is dressed as a worker in the workshop can explain that everything needs a purpose or intended use. She can go on to explain that God created boys and girls to worship him.


(Psalm 96: 9 Worship the Lord because he is Holy. NCV)

Einstein can be heard in the puppet stage mimicking what is being said by the leader.

Leader: Who is that? What is going on back there. Wait a minute, that sounds like Einstein .

Einstein (comes up) Hello everyone. I am Einstein the elephant and I never forget. Why I am so smart I even amaze myself. I am so smart I don't need to come to church. I am so smart I know everything. Did you hear me back there? I knew all that stuff.

Leader: It sounded to me like you were repeating everything I said.

Einstein: (sounding indignant) I most certainly was not. I AM THE SMARTEST ELEPHANT IN THE WORLD!!!

Leader: I am glad to hear that. Maybe you could help me teach the kids a memory verse today then.

Einstein: (sounding a bit scared now) a memory verse???

Leader: yeah, you can do that can't you?

Einstein: Of course I can! What is the memory verse?

Leader: It is a real simple one today. Listen closely. Worship the Lord because he is Holy. Psalm 96:9

Einstein: Oh that is easy. Which ship did the lord make holes in? Psalm 96:9 See I told you I was sooooo smart.

Leader: Einstein, You got it all wrong.

Einstein: I did? Well, I just didn't hear good. Tell me one more time and I will get it this time for sure.

Leader: Ok, maybe the kids can help me out this time. Ready? Worship the Lord because he is holy. Psalm 96:9

Einstein: Oh I got it this time. Worship the sword because it can make you holy. Psalm 96:9 There you have it. You have just witnessed the most intelligent elephant recite a memory verse.

Leader: Well, you recited something but it wasn't the memory verse.

Einstein: It wasn't? Are you sure? I just know that I am super smart. Leader: How about we say it for you one more time? Third times a charm. Ready kids? Worship the Lord because he is holy. Psalm 96:9

Einstein: Ohhhhh I have it now. Worship the Lord because he has holes all over. How was that?

Leader: Terrible!! Just terrible. It is Worship the Lord because he is Holy. Psalm 96:9

Einstein: Well don't get your long johns in an uproar. I can do it now. Worship the Lord because he is holy. Psalm 96:9. There! Did I do it?

Leader: Einstein, you did it! You finally did it! That was great!

Einstein: Really? Of course it was. After all I am the smartest elephant in the world.

Leader: Naturally, I am glad you helped us out today.

Einstein: I have to go now. Thanks for letting me come today.

Leader: Thanks for coming Einstein. See you later.


The lunch bell rings and all the workers run and grab their lunch boxes. Smudge pulls an orange out of his lunch box and is trying to decide how to get it cut open. The other workers offer suggestions such as cutting it with a comb, using a fingernail clipper, and finally using a hammer at which time the orange is smashed beyond recognition. The leader can interject at this point and call attention to the fact that a hammer was not created to open an orange. It was created to pound nails. When it is used for other things it loses its value. God created people to worship him..often times we choose to worship other things like money or material possessions. We need to remember what we were created to do. God created us to glorify God.


Bobo comes up yelling

Bobo: War ship? Help!! Save me! Where did it go? Was it a big war ship? Were there lots of soldiers on it? Oh what am I going to do? I am tooo young to die. I hate wars. OH help me please help me.

Leader: What in the world are you talking about? Nobody said anything about a ship.

Bobo: Oh yes they did. I heard them with my very own super sonic ears. I distinctly heard the kids yelling about a war ship. They were afraid it was going to make them holy all over. Hey, they don't look like they have holes all over to me. What's the big idea? Haven't you heard it is not nice to scare people like that?

Leader: Oh Bobo, you just didn't listen carefully. The kids were just saying the memory verse. They said worship not war ship. The verse is Worship the Lord because he is holy. We are learning how important it is to worship the Lord and tell him how awesome he is.

Bobo: Oh, I get it. I knew that. We worship the Lord because he is holy. We worship him because he is so cool and so radical. And because he is the greatest and most incredible and because he is bigger than the whole universe.

Leader: That is great Bobo. You do know a lot about worshiping the Lord.

Bobo: I tell him all those things when I pray every day.

Leader: That is fantastic! The most important thing we can do is worship God.

Bobo: Right on Dude!

Leader: Well, bobo, We need to get on with our lesson.

Bobo: Ok. I will listen from my lounge chair back here while I sip soda and eat my 14 candy bars.


Crazy uses... you will need two bags with common household items. The object of the game will be for the teams to come up with as many wacky but possible uses for an object other than its intended use. One team will pull an item out of a bag. (Have a white board and a leader to write all of the uses down) The team will then call out uses as the leader writes them down. Set a timer for 2 minutes. When the two min. are done the next team selects an item and does the same thing. Teams get one thousand points for each use.


Smudge comes in with a pile of pictures of things you are sure the kids will get excited , Nintendo, Play Station, baseball players and other athletes, celebrities He asks the children to show their level of excitement about these things and cheer if they really like them. Then the inventor comes in with a picture of Jesus to hold up. He explains to the kids that God created us to worship him above all else and yet we often choose to cheer about worldly things more than about Jesus and how awesome he is. What we cheer the loudest for is most important.


Tell the story of Jesus riding in on a donkey and the people waving palm branches and shouting hosanna.


(you will need a small cup of water and a paper towel) Tell the children the empty cup represents them. Fill it with water and explain that the water represents our praise. Then continue by showing the paper towel and explaining that the paper towel represents God. We can fill our lives with praise, but it doesn't do God any good unless we give it to him. God is wanting and waiting for us to give him our praise. When we give him our praise he soaks it up (put paper towel in the cup to soak up some water). Then God blesses us with wonderful things (squeeze the water from the paper towel onto the cup) We were created to worship God. God is waiting for us to worship him. We can't keep it to ourselves.

Prayers to Worship God

This is the way we pray to God,

Pray to God, pray to God,

This is the way we pray to God,

So early Sunday morning.

This is the way we sing to God,

Sing to God, sing to God,

This is the way we sing to God,

So early Sunday morning.

This is the way we clap for God,

Clap for God, clap for God,

This is the way we clap for God,

So early Sunday morning.

We use these things to worship God,

Worship God, worship God,

We use these things to worship God,

So early Sunday morning.

Update on Sunday School for March 18, 2012

KAIROS Prison Ministry

A Message from Wayne Hillis . . .
As many of you know I am active in the KAIROS Prison Ministry at Phillips State Prison. I feel strongly that I was called into this ministry and I can tell you it is a great joy to participate. I do not know of anywhere you can see God working in so many lives at one time as during our Kairos Weekend. Our goal is to bring the love of Jesus Christ to the incarcerated, who have little hope or joy in their life. 
Everyone is not called into this ministry and many do not want to go inside a prison. However, there are several ways you can participate in this ministry from the outside, and I ask that you please join us. Our next weekend will be held from April 19th through April 22nd.

We ask that you pray for our mission, for each of the Team Volunteers who will take the love of Jesus Christ into the prison, and for each of the residents inside who will participate in the weekend.

We will have Prayer Wheels available for you to sign up or you can put us on your daily prayer list.

We invite you to send letters to the 42 inside residents who will participate in the weekend. Short letters of support, encouragement, or scriptural references for inspiration. These letters will be included with many other cards and letters in the participants personal AGAPE Bags on Saturday.
If you are so inclined you are encouraged to make cards and posters, with themes of encouragement to the men. Children's AGAPE is most welcomed. Cards and letters from children are very moving to men who have not seen their children in 25 years in some cases.

You can bake homemade cookies which we will take into the prison. They must, however, be homemade cookies only. No store bought, no muffins etc etc.

On Sunday April 22nd at 2pm we will have the Closing Ceremony. You are invited to attend this moving Ceremony at which time men will give there testimonies during Open Mic. If you have ever considered the possibility of going inside with our Team, this is a great opportunity to test the waters and see what it is like.

Last but not least you may make financial contributions to the Ministry. It costs about $3,000 to facilitate a Weekend at Phillips, which we do twice a year. Additionally there are hundreds of similar Kairos Communities throughout Georgia, the US, and other countries, which need support.

All of these options show the Wonderful Love of Jesus Christ which you and I experience and these men are so moved by the fact that so many people Love them who have never met them and are Praying for them, baking cookies, writing letters and  other AGAPE. Many of them have never felt love form anyone and in most cases certainly not recently.

Please consider supporting this Ministry in some way. You will be Blessed and a Blessing to Others. If you need additional information Please contact me by email or phone 912 604 6658.

May God Richly Bless You.

Wayne Hillis

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Update on Sunday School for March 11, 2012

Ask them the following questions:
1. What is your favorite toy? Do you take care of it? Why?
2. Would you rather have class in a nice clean room or a dirty junky room? Why?
3. Should we take care of the things God has given us? Why?

Next, ask the kids ways in which they can take care of their toys, the church and all of the wonderful things God has given to us

God gives each of us special gifts or talents. God gives us these talents to serve others. Today we will see that God wants us to happily help others and not grumble as we work. God will give us the strength we need to complete the jobs He gives us.
Discussion Questions:
1. How should we use the gifts and talents God gives us? (To serve others.)

2. Should we grumble or be upset when asked to help? (No)

3. Does God help us do our jobs? (Yes, He gives us our talents & strength to do the jobs He gives us.)

4. Does God give everyone the same talents or gifts? (While we may have the same gift or talent that someone else has, God makes each of us special in our own way.)

5. Since God made each of us special can anyone else do the job exactly the same way we could? (No)

6. Why is it important to serve others? (It makes God happy to see us helping others.)

THEME: Using our gifts to serve and encourage others.

OBJECT: A picture of a flock of geese flying in formation.

SCRIPTURE: We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. Romans 12:6-8 (NIV)

You have probably heard someone call another person who has done something foolish, "A silly goose!" Well, I can tell you that geese are not silly! We can learn a lot from the goose. For example, I am sure that most of you probably know that when geese fly, they fly in a "V" formation. Have you ever wondered why the geese fly in a "V" formation?

Recent scientific studies have given us the answer. It has been learned that as each goose flaps its wings, it gives a lift to the one immediately following. It has been determined that flying this way gives the geese about 70% more flying range.

Of course, that means that the lead goose is working harder. When the lead goose gets tired, he falls back into the formation and another takes his place. Now, that's team work!

If you have ever seen a flock of geese flying, you have also noticed that all the time they are flying, the geese are "honking." They do this to encourage one another. It is always easier to do something difficult when you know you aren't flying alone, isn't it?

Sometimes, a goose becomes sick or is injured and falls to the ground. When that happens, two other geese go down and stay with it until it is well. If it dies, they join another formation and continue on their journey.

Do you think the geese are silly? It sounds to me like they are pretty smart! What lessons do you think we could learn from the geese?

We could learn that it is important for all church members to share the responsibility within the church rather than letting the same loyal ones work until they drop!

We could learn that it is important to "honk" encouragement to other workers in the church.

We could learn that it is important for us to look after those who are sick or in need.

There is a lot that we can learn from the goose, isn't there?

2nd Story

Helping the Poor

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? [1 John 3:17]
"Baby Polar Bears"
The one thing Pudgy and the older baby polar bears he played with loved to do is explore. Sometimes their moms and dads let them go out in a pack and explore the many coves and hills that made up their beautiful polar world. They made sure to stick together mostly but often split up in small packs of two to explore several coves at a time. That often turned into a game of hunt and catch with the smaller packs attacking each other playfully and wrestling and sometimes falling into the frigid ocean as they played. They loved the cold water and it made them even more playful.

Pudgy really liked being with his friends, Boris, Hector and Philippe and playing all day while the adults did whatever it is that adults do. One day they had found a whole area of coastline that they had not explored so they were very excited. Suddenly as Pudgy and Boris were playing tag in the water, they heard Hector yell out with excitement “HEY LOOK WHAT I FOUND!”

All of the baby bears ran as fast as they could to his voice. Pudgy’s feet kept slipping on the ice and he would bounce on his fat belly and then get up but he was used to that. That was how he ran. All of them stopped and just gasp at what Hector had found. He was standing on the edge of a small cove that was almost completely hidden from the sea or other inlets around it and the fish were so plentiful, they were almost jumping onto the shore to be eaten. Boris was standing over a huge stack of fish he had already pulled out for his snack. He looked up and smiled and then yelled “WELL COME ON IN!”

The boys went wild fishing and catching the biggest, fattest fish and eating as fast as they could as though this paradise was going to disappear any second. Soon they were lying on the side of the water moaning for being so full. They napped and got back to their families before they were missed. For the next week, the four happy polar bears snuck off to their secret cove and stuffed themselves full on the amazing abundance of fish in that cove. To a polar bear, an unlimited quantity of fish is like unlimited money or gold is to humans so you can imagine how much they wanted to keep it all for themselves.

On the eighth day of the feast, finally as they lay there groaning, Philippe said, “You know, I don’t feel right keeping this to ourselves. Our parents work so hard to hunt for food for us and when I get home, I am not even hungry any more. I know all of our parents are pretty rich but maybe we should share this with our families.

“I think we should share it with the poor families in our community.” Philippe suddenly announced. “You know Georgio's mom? She is raising 10 cubs herself and her husband was killed by that fishing trawler so it’s hard for her to find enough fish. I want to share with them.” Quietly Pudgy thought that was a good idea but the other bears got very upset.

“All those cubs will eat it all gone and there will be none left for us!” Hector worried.

“They can have our scraps but they shouldn’t get the best. They are poor. They wouldn’t know what to do with all this wealth. They would just waste it.” Boris added and they threw snowballs at Philippe for such a dumb idea. Pudgy felt bad for now defending Philippe who had to take that abuse all alone. All the way home, they taunted him when finally Pudgy spoke up.

“I don’t think we know best about this. Let’s consult King Marcos. He will know what to do.” He advised.

King Marcos was the wise head of the polar bear community and it was well known he would help them see what God would have them do with the fortune. Boris and Hector knew that their parents were on some committees with King Marcos so they would advise him that the wealthy deserve this amazing discovery and that the poor should just have the left overs. The day came for the little bears to go in and see King Marcos but the rest were all scared so they made Pudgy go in and tell him what they found. When he came out, all of the little bears were on fire with curiosity but all Pudgy said was. “I just told him what we found. I told him both sides of our talks about what to do with it all and he just thanked me and said he would decide before the Polar Bear Council this Friday.

The Polar Bear council was where King Marcos gathered every single bear in the community and told them of his recent decisions, news that concerns the community and his rulings. The meeting went on and on and on and the four baby bears were so bored but they stayed to hear his decision.

“And now I want to tell you of four baby bears who are setting an example of how to serve God and their fellow bears.” The king finally announced. “These four bears found a treasure trove of fish, enough to feed all of us for many generations to come. They did not hoard it for themselves but they want to share it with all of us. Come up here boys.” He said signaling to the four little bears to join him on the flat rise where he did his announcements.

“These four baby bears have given their find, which they could have kept hidden for themselves, to the community and it is my decision that the first to visit the cove will be the poorest amongst us. I decided this because this is what our great God who created all living things would want and I know that in their hearts, these wonderful boys want to serve God more than anything. They have truly brought a miracle from God to us and God will reward them mightily.” The roar of approval that went up from all the bears in the community was thunderous. Each baby polar bear could look out and see their familes and see them beam with pride for them.

All of the boys were blushing but when Pudgy looked over at Hector and Boris, he knew that in their hearts they were both unhappy with the decision but also embarrassed because they were being praised for their love of the poor but they secretly didn’t want to serve. The meeting ended and the four little bears met privately.

“I am sorry I didn’t encourage us to give the fish to the poor.” Boris said. “Pudgy, you and Philippe were right. We don’t deserve these praises and yet somehow we feel proud that it turned out this way.”

“Its ok Boris” a voice came from behind them and King Marcos had walked up and put his huge paws on their heads to give them some pats of appreciation. “Even if you had your doubts, you did the right thing. And because you overcame selfishness to serve God, your sacrifice is even more wonderful. Forget your sins and praise God that you are going to be a good little polar bear from this day forward.”

And from that day forward all of the little bears were the best citizens of the community and they knew that even better than the fish, the episode at the cove taught them how to be humble and know God’s heart for the poor and that lesson was more valuable than all the wealth in the universe.
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. [Acts 4:32-35]

3rd Story


Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. [Ecclesiastes 4:12]
"Misty Mountain"
Misty Mountain was the most perfect place there could be for two young bears to grow up together. Benji and Bambi were the happiest bear cubs on the mountain when they were tiny. All the forest creatures knew when it was playtime because they ran through the forest, stumbling over everything, chasing anything and never catching anything except each other. The fun they shared was contagious. All of Misty Mountain was at play when the bear cubs were at play.

As they grew up, Benji and Bambi were always close but Benji became an expert hunter and fighter. He many times fought enemies for the borders of Misty Mountain and was a hero to his friends and family. But just as many times, he created wars and fights that didn’t have to happen and made trouble for the people creatures that shared the mountain with he and his sister. Every day was an adventure for Benji but he didn’t always have the wisdom of when to enter into struggles and when to let God guide him.

Bambi the Bear and her sweet cubs loved playing near the lake at the base of Misty Mountain. When they played, they brought great joy to all living things just as she and her brother had done when they were young. Not far away she knew that Benji was hunting because that is what he always did.

Suddenly the alarm went up. Through the trees in every species language, the alarm was the same “DANGER – WOLVES”. The Asante band of roving wolves were back to Misty Mountain to raid and kill and destroy. All around the lake peaceful animals were pulling back and fleeing up the mountain to escape the raid. Already Bambi could hear their growls as they charged through the trees angrily. She gathered the cubs and hurried up the hill to their caves where she knew they would be safe.

Benji heard the wolves as well but his instincts acted differently. Instead of retreating to the hills, he took position to defend his beloved mountain and his family and friends. Somewhere in his mind a voice said, don’t fight them alone Benji. Think before you attack. And that voice sounded like his sister, Bambi. He watched carefully from a sheltered place as the wolves gathered in a clearing to mass before they attacked. Before they could organize, he was on them.

The battle was fierce and for a while, Benji was winning. Wolf after wolf leaped upon him only to get batted away with claw marks on his head or chest for his trouble. Benji bit and growled and clawed and dozens of wolves were wounded. But the battle wore on him and suddenly he realized he was injured and starting to fail. His growls turned to howls of pain and tiredness. Without warning, he was hit from behind by a very large wolf and he fell. Turning he looked up knowing that on his back, he was sure to lose when he saw something he never expected.

Behind the faces of the angry demonic wolves stood a bear as large and ferocious as any he had ever seen. She erupted with a growl that shook the trees and could be heard to the very top of Misty Mountain. Bambi tore into the wolves swatting them away from her brother and sending them flying into trees, over bushes and even into the lake. Their fierce growls and howling became frightened yipes. Instead of massing to attack, they fled in chaos into the woods limping and sprinting to get as far away from Bambi as possible. The Asante wolves never returned to Misty Mountain again.

Back in the caves, the cubs played on their injured uncle and imitated their brave mom in how she defeated the wolves. “I never thought you would fight like that.” Benji said to his sister.

“It is good to fight for what is right and good. And anyone who loves their family will fight to protect them. I seek peace with all creatures, as our God created us to do but this is a world with evil in it and brother, when evil tries to take over good, it will have a fight from this timid mommy bear.”

“Timid mommy bear” the cubs laughed and mimicked her swatting and making mock wolf cries. Benji laughed at their cute play and thought of the valuable lessons he learned. They were lessons about fighting and about defending what you cherish but they were also lessons of peace and joy that had always been the life testimony of his sister. And that day Benji’s heart changed from the love of battle to the love of family, God and peace.
But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. [Luke 21:12-15]

What can we do to serve our community and our church?

We will be using our time today to make cards for St Patrick’s Day to give to the Roswell Nursing home the following Saturday.  This will be an idea on how to serve others.