BIG IDEA: I CAN HAVE JOY
AIM: The aim of the ‘Joy’ Fruit of the Spirit Childrens Lesson is to help children see that they can have joy through the Holy Spirit. This is the second lesson in the ‘Tutti Frutti’ teaching series.
INTRO QUESTION: What was the last thing that made you laugh?
- Joyful Juniors. (regular/widescreen) Children must try and make one another laugh whilst staring at each other from a distance. They can make any sort of face or noise but must not inch closer to their opponent. The player who makes the other laugh first is the winner.
- Fruit Faces. (regular/widescreen) How many fruit faces can the players spot on the screen? The first player to get the correct number is the winner. Download here.
- Find the Fruit. (regular/widescreen) A player ‘hides the fruit’ in their mind. The fruit can be anywhere – they can choose a general or very specific place that the fruit could be. Children must ask lots of questions until they have ‘found’ the fruit.
BIG VERSE: …the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control… Galatians 6:22-23.
SET the Scene:
Read Acts 16:16-40. Explain to the children that today we are looking at the fruit of the Spirit that is joy. Joy is different to happiness and we will see why.
- What did Paul and Silas do in jail?
- What happened as a result?
- When did this all happen?
- What did the jailer say when he saw everyone’s cells open?
- Whose whole household believed in Jesus?
SPOT the Simple Meaning:
1) GOD IS FULL OF JOY
You will need a large cup with ‘Me’ on it and a jug full of water that says ‘joy’.
Say: God tells us that He is full of joy and He wants to bring us joy that overflows to those around us. That’s what happened when Paul and Silas began singing and praising God and praying. They were thanking God and focussing on the things that they love and worship about Jesus.
We’re told that when the earthquake took place and the jailer realised they could have left he wanted to kill himself. He was so worried that he would lose his life anyway for falling asleep on the job and letting the prisoners escape. When he realised they never left he knew something was different about Paul and Silas. He knew that Jesus had helped them and he and his whole household were baptised that night.
The joy that Paul and Silas carried with them as they praised and worshipped God overflowed to the jailer. Imagine this cup is your life. God has so much joy that He just keeps pouring it out to us. It fills our lives [pour until the water reaches the top]. Yet He still has more to give. If we ask the Holy Spirit and focus on all those amazing things about our Lord, His joy will continue to pour upon us and it will spill out and overflow to those that we meet!
2) JOY IS DIFFERENT TO HAPPINESS
You will need to use the ‘Feel Happy?’ images and you could also play a silly song in the background such as ‘If you’re happy and you know it.’
Say: Have you ever seen those battery commercials where one battery lasts a short while and the other seems to last forever? [Get feedback] That is what God’s joy is like. Happiness is usually dependent on how we feel or if we like something. Let’s play this game… do these thing make you feel happy?: (You will need to be sensitive with some of the scenarios – you know your kids in the room. Be ready to pray with kids if they are struggling with this) [Show the images from the Feel Happy PowerPoint]
Let’s be honest, not all of these things make us feel happy. In fact, some of them make us feel really sad. Happiness comes and goes. Yet God’s joy can remain with us when we spend time with Him and focus on all He is and has done for us. God’s joy lasts but happiness comes and goes.
3) GOD GIVES JOY IN HARD TIMES
Elephant toothpaste experiment: You will need water, yeast, bottle, hydrogen peroxide, food colouring and dish soap (washing up liquid). Mix two tablespoons of warm water with one teaspoon of yeast then mix until the yeast is fully dissolved in the water. Have this already prepared before you begin. Pour 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide into the empty bottle. Add a few drops of food coloring into the bottle. Add a squirt of dish soap (washing up liquid) into the bottle. Pour the mixture of water and yeast into the bottle.
Say: We CAN be full of joy and overflowing with joy if we do two things…one is obvious that is to ask God for His help and His joy. But then the second thing is to CHOOSE! We need to choose joy. God is ready to give us His joy, but unless we are ready to use it then we will never experience the kind of joy that overflows. Sometimes that means choosing to praise God even when everything around us is terrible.
You see, on our own, we may feel like this bottle: empty. [show the bottle] Especially if we are in a difficult situation and life is tough! When we choose joy we are choosing to praise God [pour in the hydrogen peroxide.] We are choosing to focus on Him [add the food colouring]. We are choosing to pray [add the dish soap – washing up liquid] and worship when we don’t feel like it [add the water and yeast].
Paul and Silas were in the worst place possible – a jail cell! Yet they decided it was time to praise Jesus. They used what they had to praise and pray towards him – their voices. Sometimes we have to decide to look at what we have and not what we do not have. We choose to use what we have to praise and thank God, even when everything in our lives is a mess. The Holy Spirit wants to help us overflow with His love. All we have to do is choose to ask for His help and choose to focus on the right things each day. God’s joy begins to overflow!
SEARCH the Scriptures:
Each child is given a list of bible verses to discuss.
- What does joy mean to you?
- Have you experienced joy from God?
SENSE How You Feel:
How would it feel to be Paul and Silas praising God in jail?
- Mould: the scene of Paul and Silas in jail praising God using playdough or clay.
- Sensory: use items that are brightly colored and that bring joy on your sensory table: you could use musical instruments and party decorations and items.
- Build: the scene of Paul and Silas in jail praising God using Lego or building blocks.
- Make the Paul and Silas in jail scene using the Jail Printable and Paul and Silas printables.
- Fill in/color the activity booklets for Download Bible Cards5-7s and Download Bible Cards
You will need to use the [/mepr-s3-link]5-7s and Fruit Printables
fruit printables and some markers.
Say: Today we are going to thank God for all the things that bring us joy by writing or drawing them on the back of these fruits! Let’s pray!
Thank You God that You give us so much that brings us joy! Thank You for all the people and things that we have! Help us to bring joy to others just as You give us so much joy! Help us tell others about You so that they can be filled with Your joy too. Amen.