January 5, 2014
FOR LEADERS ONLY GOD VIEW: the connection between KNOWLEDGE and God's character, as shown through God's big story From a young age, Jesus grew in His understanding of God’s plan throughout time. He studied, asked questions, and listened to teachers. But all that knowledge didn’t stay inside of Him. When it mattered most, Jesus was prepared for whatever tests Satan threw at Him. He taught others the importance of building their lives on a strong foundation of knowledge of God’s Word and putting that knowledge into practice. Knowledge is discovering something new so you can be better at whatever you do. Landscapers and gardeners have to know the needs of different plants. Professional athletes need to know the rules of their sport. Professors need to know the subject matter they teach. But the most valuable knowledge isn’t found in a textbook, manual, or Google search. The knowledge everyone needs, no matter their profession or stage of life, is found in God’s Word. The knowledge we glean from the 66 books of the Bible tells us how to live our lives day in and day out. But that knowledge is not an end in and of itself. We can know all there is to know about God, but if we don’t put any of our knowledge into practice it is worthless. We believe that God’s Word is the best place to discover something new about our world and ultimately ourselves. And when we put those discoveries into practice it changes us from the inside out and impacts the choices we make and the way we live. God is the source of all truth. We need to dig into His Word and discover that truth for ourselves. This month, let’s think about how: (1) The Bible is full of important information we need to learn. (2) Having knowledge is not enough. You have to put that knowledge into practice. (3) When we know what God says, we will know Jesus and His plan for our lives.
This week, we’re discovering: In this week’s Bible story, Jesus models the importance of seeking knowledge even as a young boy (Luke 2:41-52). Jesus knew He needed to spend time in God’s house to grow. So He stays behind to discover all He can from the teachers at the Temple. Our Bottom Line is: since God knows everything, it’s important to discover what God says. Whether you are 8 or 98, it is important to keep learning and discovering what God says. And how do we discover what God says? Read the Bible! The Bible is God’s Word to us. That’s why it’s important to read the Bible and ask questions of someone we trust—a Small Group Leader, parent or, in Jesus’ case, a teacher at the Temple. The monthly memory verse is: “God has breathed life into all of Scripture. It is useful for teaching us what is true. It is useful for correcting our mistakes. It is useful for making our lives whole again. It is useful for training us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16, NIrV Jesus understood this from a young age. He knew how important it would be for Him to discover what God says and because He did, He grew wiser and stronger, continuing to put that knowledge into practice.
Head of the Class Bible Story: Head of the Class (boy Jesus at the Temple) • Luke 2:41-52 Bottom Line: Since God knows everything, it's important to DISCOVER what God says. Memory Verse: “God has breathed life into all of Scripture. It is useful for teaching us what is true. It is useful for correcting our mistakes. It is useful for making our lives whole again. It is useful for training us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16, NIrV Life App: Knowledge—discovering something new so you can be better at whatever you do. Basic Truth: I need to make the wise choice.
Plug In: Focus the Energy (Small Groups, 10-15 minutes)
2. Winter Olympic Discovery What You Need: Paper, pencil, smart phone or tablet (optional) What You Do: Ask kids what they know about the upcoming Olympic games. Challenge them to make a list of all the sports they think are included in the Winter Olympics. See if they know of any particular athletes that will be competing. Ask kids how they would discover or learn more about the winter Olympics. (If you have a smart phone or tablet, do a quick search on the Internet to show kids how to find out more about the Winter Olympics.) TO ADAPT FOR YOUNGER KIDS: Ask each child to draw a picture of a winter sport. (You may need to explain that a winter sport is often something you can play on snow or ice.) After everyone has had a few minutes to draw their sport, allow each child to share and see how many different sports the group came up with!
What You Say: “You know a lot about the Olympics, but there’s always more to learn and discover! [Transition] Today we’re going to hear about someone else who needed to learn and discover more about something!”
Power Up: Engage the Heart (Large Group, 20-25 minutes) Worship LEADER: “Hi there, and Happy New Year to each and every one of you. I can’t believe it’s 2014 already. We’re going to kick things off with some singing! I can’t think of a better way to start our time together. C’mon, sing along with us. Let’s start our new year off walking in the light of Jesus!” SFX: “I’m Gonna Walk” / track 6 from Turn It Up LEADER: “That was fantastic. I saw some good twisting and walking and singing! Deuteronomy 32:3 says: ‘I will make known the name of the Lord. Praise God! How great he is!’ (NIrV) Our God is great. He’s greater than anything. Worship is a time for us to make known the name of the Lord and to give praise to Him for how great He is. Join me as we sing this song ‘Our God.’ Let’s give our time and our hearts right now to lift up the name of the Lord in this place.” SFX: “Our God” / track 6 from Jesus Music Box
Opener Assistant enters, jogging, dressed in heavy winter gear and wearing a ski mask (on top of your head, not covering your eyes), holding a torch and a piece of paper. ASSISTANT: “Privyet (Pri-vee-et), everyone! I know, you’re thinking, ‘Say what?!’ ‘Privyet’ is Russian for ‘Hi!’ I’m greeting you in Russian because I’m over-the-moon excited about the Winter Olympics starting next month in Russia! That’s why I’ve got this here torch—I’ve been tracking the real Olympic torch all over Russia. Would you believe that thing’s been lit for three months now?
Walk over and place your torch in the stand. It will stay here until Week 4, when you use it in the “closing ceremony.”
“In fact, I’m so excited about the Olympics that I’ve printed out this schedule of the events. (Hold up your piece of paper.) You wouldn’t believe the cool sports that are gonna be on TV (looking at the sheet): Speed skating, freestyle skiing, figure skating, ski jumping. The list goes on and on! And there are some on here that I’ve never even heard of before, like … skeleton? Huh? And what about curling? What’s that about? Well, we’re about to figure it out together. I’ve brought some equipment and I thought we could do some curling in here! I’m pretty sure this is the equipment the Olympic Curlers use. First, I need some volunteers. Select a male volunteer and have them come to the stage and sit in a chair. If there aren’t enough males, substitute females. Then pick up the equipment bag and dump the contents on the table. “So, yeah, curling. Sounds like curlers would be involved to me! The problem is (looking over at the volunteers’ heads), you guys don’t really have much hair to curl, so … Pick up a wig and put one on the voluntees. The volunteer might have to hold the wig in place while the kids put in the curlers. “Much better. Now I need some a volunteer to see how fast you can curl this guy’s hair. Choose one student to come up on the stage. “Okay, you have thirty seconds to get all of these curlers in his hair. Think you can do it? “Let’s get thirty seconds on the clock! CG: 30-second countdown (or Assistant can use a stopwatch) “On your mark, get set, GO! Play the game. Count down the last five seconds. “Five, four, three, two, ONE! CG: Buzzer “Awesome job, you guys! You guys can go back to your seats now. Volunteers go back to their seats. Leader enters. “Wow, you guys seem to really have this curling stuff down! Although, I’ve gotta say, I’m not really sure why this is an Olympic sport. LEADER: “Hey, [Assistant’s name]!”
ASSISTANT: “Don’t you mean, ‘privyet’ (pri-vee-et)?” LEADER: “Huh?” ASSISTANT: (Acting smugly) “Oh you know, just a little Russian-speak for ‘Hey.’ Getting in the spirit of things with the upcoming Olympics and all.” LEADER: “Riiiiight. About that. I heard a bit of what was going on while I was backstage, and I’ve got to say, I don’t think you have this whole curling thing quite right.” ASSISTANT: (A bit deflated) “Really? I’ll admit, I was kind of wondering … I’m just so excited about the Olympics and I want everyone else to be excited too! I found this list of all the sports and I thought if we took the ones we don’t know about and tried to figure them out, then watching the Olympics would be a lot more fun!” LEADER: “And I think you’re on to something there, my friend. Don’t give up hope yet. I think today’s story will help you figure out what you can do to become a true curling expert.” ASSISTANT: (Encouraged) “Really? Awesome! I’m totally going to be listening backstage while I put up my curling equipment.” (Holding up the wig covered in curlers.) LEADER: “Sounds good. But stay close by—I have a feeling I’m going to need your help with this story. Assistant picks up all the equipment and exits. SETTING UP THE STORY LEADER: “We’re continuing our journey through the Bible this year, and last month we finally made it to the PROMISED ONE. “That’s right—now that Jesus has been born, things are definitely looking up for the world. The BROKEN and LOST world now has Jesus to show us the way to God. And just like we’re on a journey through the Bible, this week our story is about a long journey too. You see, every year, Jesus and His parents, Mary and Joseph, traveled about 100 long miles to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover and retell the stories of all God had done for them. “First I need a volunteer to be Jesus. (Pick a volunteer) (Depending on if assistant is male or female, let him/her be either Mary or Joseph) “I think (assistant’s name) would be perfect as Mary/Joseph.”
THE JOURNEY LEADER: “Like I was saying, every year, Jesus and His parents, Mary and Joseph, traveled about 100 long miles (explain that they walked the 100 miles) from their home in Nazareth to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover and retell the stories of all God had done for them. “This year was no different, so the family set out on the dusty road with a large group of their relatives and friends.
Assistant and Jesus travel around.
“The journey took three long days. As the group neared Jerusalem, they were joined by thousands more travelers, all pouring into the city to celebrate how God had saved the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.
“The festivities lasted for a full week as the Israelites laughed and feasted and studied once more the incredible stories of how God had saved them. Assistant as Mary or Joseph start dancing and celebrating at the front of the room. Get everyone in the room to join in. At some point during the festivities, the Leader should guide the young boy playing Jesus to move toward the “Temple.” Have him sit in one of the chairs and give him the scroll to pretend to be reading. Instruct him to stay until you prompt him to get up. “By the time Joseph and Mary and their friends finally began the journey home, everyone was probably a little quieter—full of good food and new memories. Assistant as Mary or Joseph starts walking back toward the back of the room. “Mary and Joseph likely assumed that Jesus was walking with a friend as they headed back home. But after they had walked for a full day, they realized that Jesus was nowhere to be found.” ASSISTANT: “Jesus! Jesus! Has anyone seen Jesus? Assistant to walk around the room looking for Jesus. “I think … I’m afraid we left Him in the city! We need to go back to find Him.” ON THE ROAD AGAIN LEADER: “So, Mary and Joseph hurried to retrace their steps … all the way back to Jerusalem. Mary/Joseph hurry back toward the stage. “The Bible tells us that they searched for Him for THREE days. They must have looked all over Jerusalem during that time—the inn where they stayed, every street corner, the market place. Assistant runs around the front of the room, looking for Jesus, but avoiding the Temple. “At this point, Mary was likely in tears. Jesus had been missing for three whole days! But then they thought of the Temple. They hadn’t searched the Temple yet!
“So, Mary and Joseph scoured the Temple grounds. As they rounded the corner, just ahead, a group of teachers gathered together, deep in conversation. They nodded in fascination as they listened to the words of a young Man in the center of the group. A Boy, actually. He seemed completely at home there. “It was Jesus! There, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, was Jesus! Assistant opens mouth (literally gaping) and points at the boy playing Jesus. THE TEMPLE LEADER: “Mary and Joseph’s mouths likely fell open in shock. Apparently, their Son had been sitting here in God’s Temple for three whole days while they searched for Him. Assistant approaches Jesus and put their hands on his shoulders.
“Mary questioned Jesus, saying, ‘Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been worried about you. We have been looking for you everywhere.’ (Luke 2:48, NIrV) “And Jesus responded, ‘Why were you looking for me? … Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?’ (Luke 2:49, NIrV) “The Bible tells us that Jesus’ parents didn’t understand what He meant by that. But what they did know was that while Joseph was Jesus’ father here on earth, God was His true Father. And maybe He just needed to spend more time with His Father, discovering the things that God had said. Assistant and Mary/Joseph guide Jesus to stand up and start walking back toward the back of the room again, and either take a seat or exit. “Jesus went home with His parents and did everything they asked, though Mary wondered about all that had happened. Assistant motions for volunteer to head back to his seat; Assistant exits. WRAPPING UP THE STORY LEADER: “The story doesn’t end there, though. Because the Bible tells us that over the years (open the Bible and read Luke 2:52), ‘Jesus became wiser and stronger. He also became more and more pleasing to God and to people.’ (NIrV) “Wow, if God’s Son—who has all His power and wisdom—had more learning to do, how much work do you and I have ahead of us? After all, the Bible tells us that when Jesus was in the Temple talking to the religious leaders, that ‘everyone who heard him was amazed at how much he understood. They also were amazed at his answers.’ (Luke 2:47, NIrV) But it wasn’t enough for Jesus—He wanted to learn all there was to know and understand about His Father.
“Jesus knew WHERE to go to grow. And then He put everything He learned about God into practice. He made wise choices because He knew what the wise thing was. So, since [Recycle] I need to make the wise choice, I need to follow the same path Jesus did! “You guys, the God of the universe wants to fill our hearts and our minds with the truth of who He is, and He wants that to change our lives. He wants us to be a part of His big story too, and that’s only possible when we know what His story is about. After all … CG: Bottom Line Slide [Impress] “Since God knows everything, it's important to discover what God says. So, let’s get to it this week, digging deep into God’s Word and learning all we can about Him. And let’s start by talking to Him right now.” Pray LEADER: “Heavenly Father, we’re so thankful that You are our Father, and that You want nothing more than a relationship with us. Thank You for making that possible by sending Jesus, and by giving us Your Word to help us know more about who You are. Please help us learn and grow wiser and stronger, just like Jesus did. In Your name, we pray. Amen.” Assistant enters in the same clothes as the Intro. Closer ASSISTANT: “Wow, you guys! That was an amazing story—to think that the Son of God spent time digging into God’s Word and learning all He could about God. It really challenges me to do the same thing!
CG: Bottom Line slide [Impress] “Since God knows everything, it's important to discover what God says. Can you guys say that with me?” ASSISTANT and KIDS: [Impress] “Since God knows everything, it's important to discover what God says.” ASSISTANT: “‘Discover what God says’ … what are some ways we can do that? Give two or three kids a chance to respond. If they need help, suggest ideas such as the Bible, GodTime cards, the Parent CUE App, etc. “Those are all really great ways to learn more about God! And one other way to learn about God is to ask questions! That’s right! Jesus wasn’t just listening in the Temple, He was also asking questions. So, don’t be afraid to ask about something you don’t understand. You can ask us, your mom or dad, or anyone you trust. And if you aren’t the kind of person who likes to speak in front of a group, feel free to write your question down! Don’t let anything get in the way of getting your questions answered because God wants you to grow in your KNOWLEDGE of Him. Knowledge—that’s a big word, but it’s what we’re going to be talking about all month. CG: Knowledge Slide “Knowledge is discovering something new so you can be better at whatever you do. And since we want to gain knowledge about who God is, the Bible is the perfect place to turn. Our memory verse this month sums it up well: CG: Memory Verse Slide “‘God has breathed life into all of Scripture. It is useful for teaching us what is true. It is useful for correcting our mistakes. It is useful for making our lives whole again. It is useful for training us to do what is right,’ 2 Timothy 3:16.” (NIrV) LEADER: “Hey, [Assistant’s name], remember earlier how I told you that today’s story might help you figure out how to learn more about curling?” ASSISTANT: “Yeah.” LEADER: “Well, just like we go to the Bible to learn more about God, anytime we want to gain knowledge about anything, we can go the authority on that subject and discover what we’re looking for! So, I figured the best authority on curling would be … YouTube!” CG: YouTube Olympic Curling Video ASSISTANT: “Wow! That is SO not what I pictured when I read about curling. Yep, this makes a LOT more sense as a sport in the Winter Olympics. Thanks, man!” LEADER: “No problem! We’re all learning and growing together!” ASSISTANT: “So, I guess I can stop trying to grow out my hair so I can compete in curling, huh?” LEADER: “Yes, I think that’s a safe bet.”
Catch On: Make the Connection (Small Groups, 25-30 minutes)
Discovery What You Need: Bag or pillowcase filled with objects What You Do: Hold up the bag and ask kids what objects they think are in the bag. After they’ve made some guesses, tell them they’re going to get a chance to make a better guess. Line kids up across the room from the bag of objects. Let kids take turns running to the bag, putting their hand in without looking, grabbing an object, and guessing what it is before they pull it out. If they’re right, they keep the object, run back and tag the next person. If they’re wrong, they put the object back and try again. (To keep all the objects a secret, you may want to stand next to the bag in order to judge whether or not the kids’ guesses are correct. That way, kids don’t have to pull the objects out to see if they’re correct and you can reuse objects that were guessed incorrectly.) After all kids have had a turn, collect all the objects. What You Say: “When you guessed what was in the bag without having any clues, you didn’t guess right. When you got to touch an object, it was a lot easier to guess correctly. But when you actually saw it, you knew for sure what it was. You didn’t have to guess. [Apply] That’s kind of like discovering what God says. If we just guess what He says without having any clues, we probably won’t get it right. If we hear it from someone else, we have a better chance of knowing what God says. But when we see it with our own eyes by reading the Bible or by having someone else read it to us, then we know for sure what He says. We don’t have to guess. [Impress] Since God knows everything, it’s important to discover what God says, and we can do that best by reading His Word, the Bible.”