BIG IDEA: I CAN HAVE A BRAND NEW START
AIM: The aim of the ‘Zacchaeus Has a Brand New Start’ session ins to help the children recognise that every journey has to start somewhere and that Jesus is in the habit of giving us a brand new start.
INTRO QUESTION: What was the last brand new thing you opened?
1. Red Light, Green Light. Players start on one end of the room. One person is on the other end of the room and must call out ‘Green Light’ or ‘Red Light’ with their back turned to the rest of the group. When the person shouts ‘green light’ all the children run towards that person. When that person shouts ‘red light’ the children must stop. It is upto that person to turn to see who stops last or to see if anyone is moving when they take a look. The first child to reach the person calling out is the winner.
2. Musical Pit Stop. Create colored flags and put them in different areas of your room. Then encourage the children to dance or move around them until the music stops. When the music stops shout the color of the flag that the children should run to.
3. Pin the wheel on the car. Create your own wheel and large picture of a car. Blindfold the children and allow them to attempt to put the wheel on the car.
SET the Scene:
Read Luke 19:1-10.
1. Why did Zacchaeus run on ahead?
2. What kind of man was Zacchaeus?
3. Did the people like Zacchaeus? Why/why not?
4. What did Jesus tell Zacchaeus he wanted to do?
5. What did Zacchaeus say he would do with his money?
SPOT the Simple Meaning:
1) JESUS GIVES US A BRAND NEW START
You will need to find something that you own that is old and then buy the exact same item. Show the children the old object and the brand new object and ask them which they think is better and why.
Say: Zacchaeus was amazed that Jesus had noticed him and wanted to stay at his house. Perhaps Zacchaeus didn’t have many friends, or didn’t expect someone as good as Jesus to want to be his friend. Either way, Zacchaeus took his chance at having a brand new start. Jesus gave Zacchaeus a brand new start because he didn’t tell Zacchaeus how bad he was or try to avoid him in the street – he decided to show Zacchaeus that it didn’t matter what he had done; what mattered was what he was going to do.
Jesus gives us a brand new start. He lets us start all over again. If we have done wrong things or if we feel we have let people down, we can ask Jesus to help us start again. Just like a brand new toy (refer to your specific item) we can have a brand new life in Jesus. All we have to do is invite him into our lives. Just as Zacchaeus was willing to have Jesus come to his house, we can invite Jesus to be the One that leads us in our lives.
2. JESUS GIVES US A BRAND NEW HEART
Hold up a picture or image of a heart – if you have a heart pillow or cushion or something physically resembling a heart then this will help also. Alternatively or in addition you can clean some pennies or encourage the children to do it themselves:
You will need: a few old grubby pennies, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt and a non-metallic bowl. Simply add the vinegar and salt in a bowl and stir. Then put the pennies inside. They should be clean within minutes.
Say: When we invite Jesus into our lives He will give us a brand new heart – a clean heart – a heart like His. As we read our bibles and pray He will change our heart to be more loving, giving, joyful and peaceful. All we have to do is allow Him to change us.
David wanted to have a clean heart, so he prayed this prayer in a song: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10. Jesus is the only one that can make us new. We can’t do it on our own. In Ezekiel 36:26 God promises the people: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” He says this to us today too.
Zacchaeus has a massive change of heart when he meets Jesus. He decides that he will no longer take the money off the poor, but he will give back four times the amount to anyone that he owes. WOW! That is what happens when
Jesus changes our heart and our lives – He shows us what is most important. The most important thing in life is people and to know God. So if you need a new or changed heart today, start by coming to Jesus!
SEARCH the Scriptures:
Find the Flag Game. Put the bible names and any bible verses about new beginnings on the back of the flags. Hide the flags around the room and encourage your children to relay race around the room to find the flags. Once a player has found a flag they must run back and tag the next person.
People in the Bible that were given a brand new start:
Job: everything went wrong for Job, yet he was faithful, so God rewarded him with a brand new start. (The book of Job)
The guilty woman: the woman that was almost stoned to death for her sin was given a new start when Jesus told her to go and “sin no more” (John)
Paul: Saul had arrested Christians, yet Jesus gave him a brand new start on the road to Damascus. (Acts 9)
Jesus offered Nicodemus a brand new start. Yet we don’t know if he fully understood or took the opportunity. (John 3)
1. What is it like to start something from scratch or to have something brand new? (a new piece of work or art, opening a fresh journal to write in or having a cleanly washed bed)
2. If you could start your day/week/year/life all over again, what would you do differently?
3. What would you like to do differently this year compared to last year?
SENSE How You Feel:
As the children think about the following question, they can do one or some of the activities below:
How does it feel to know you can have a brand new start in Jesus?
1. Fill out the Zacchaeus wordsearch as you think.
2. Create a ‘Journey of My Life’ picture with your birth as the beginning up to where you are now. What has happened so far? Has Jesus given you a brand new start?
3. Create a messy picture with paints, pens or crayons and then scrunch it up and start again. How does it feel?
4. Create a ‘New Start’ picture with you at the beginning of the track. What would you like to see along your journey?
1. If life is a race, where do you think you are?
2. If life is a race, what kind of car are you?
3. If life is a journey, where do you want to go?
What area of your life do you need a brand new start in?
Is there something that you want to start doing?
Is there something that you want to stop doing?
– School –
– Friendships –
– Relationships with family –
– Relationship with God –
– Dreams and Ambitions –
Create a start line with two craft sticks and a piece of paper taped to both. On one side have the children write the word ‘Start’ and on the other side encourage each child to write something that they want a brand new start in.