BIG IDEA: GOD’S LOVE PROTECTS US
AIM: To teach the children that Jesus protects; that God’s love protects us. To help the children to see that God’s protection comes from His love for each of us.
1. Umbrella Catch. Each team has an umbrella. Turn the umbrellas upside down and use them as a goal. Children stand behind a line and throw balls into the umbrella. The team with the most balls in the umbrella at the end are the winning team.
2. Shield Me. Children split up into teams and then get into pairs. In their pairs one person stands behind the other. The person behind throws balls at the opposing team. Their aim is the hit the team members stood behind their partners in the opposing team. The person at the front of their pair acts as a shield for the attacking partner. When an attacking partner is hit by a ball they are out. When all the attacking players from a team are out the game is over. The last team standing is the winning team.
3. Take My Heart. Children hold a piece of ribbon with a paper heart tied loosely on the end. They must hold the ribbon by the end and not by the heart. Children must defend their heart whilst trying to grab their opponent’s hearts. The child with the most hearts at the end is the winning player.
1. ‘Mighty to Save’ by Hillsong
2. ‘Whom Shall I Fear’ (God of Angel Armies)
BIG VERSE: Love Always Protects…1 Corinthians 13:7.
SET the Scene:
Read the story of Jesus Calming the Storm (Mark 4:35-41) and/or show this video. Alternatively you could creatively tell the story by using the story below.
Jesus Calms the Storm Story [Creative Version]:
Say: I’m going to tell this story about Jesus and I would love it if you would all act as the disciples and follow the instructions that I give you…
Ok, one day, when evening was coming Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go to the other side of the lake.” The disciples all said goodbye to the crowd [wave to the crowd] and they took Jesus, just as he was. They all got into the boat [pretend to get into the boat] and along with other boats they moved out into the lake. The disciples were all enjoying relaxing [have disciples put up their feet, arms behind their heads to indicate relaxing] and some of them were still rowing [have some of the people row] when suddenly a storm was brewing. The boat rocked from side to side [have the disciples rock from side to side] the waves crashed against the boat, and then they started to come into the boat! The disciples feet were all wet [have disciples show disgust at their soggy feet]. The boat seemed like it was going to sink! Now, the disciples were all experienced fisherman [ask them to show how great they were by looking very proud]. Yet they turned to find Jesus. Jesus was asleep in the back of the boat. They cried out to him “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Jesus got up, rebuked the wind and the waves and they stopped [ask to see the reaction of the disciples as they saw the wind and the waves die down.] The wind died down and everything was calm. Jesus turned to the disciples and said “Why were you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” The disciples were still terrified and turned to each other saying “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
SPOT the Simple Meaning:
1) LOVE PROTECTS
You will need: an umbrella with the word ‘LOVE’ written on it, a jug of water with the words ‘fears and problems’ written on it and a plastic sheet.
Say: In that story we learned that Jesus loved the disciples and so he protected them from dying in the storm. He loved them and didn’t want them to get hurt. The storm was very bad. The waves were sweeping over the boat and the wind was making it difficult for them to sail. Yet Jesus was there to protect them. Why? Because he loved them! They were his friends! He didn’t want them to get hurt. He stopped the storm and calmed the waves. They all obeyed him.
[bring out the umbrella]I have an umbrella here. Can anyone tell me what an umbrella protects me from? That’s right! The rain. This umbrella represents love. That’s because like we saw with Jesus, if we love someone then we will protect them, just like an umbrella protects. [Show them the jug.] The jug of water represents our fears and problems. We all go through tough times and when we do it can sometimes feel really bad. But when we have someone who loves us to go through those bad times with us it feels like we have been completely protected. Just watch. [Have a child pour the water over the umbrella as you stand underneath it]. Just like the umbrella protected us from the water, love can protect us from feeling bad when we go through tough times. We don’t need to feel overwhelmed by our problems and fears because God’s love will protect us. It is always easier to go through something when someone is there to love us through it.
The disciples forgot that point and they started to fear. They forgot Jesus was with them. They acted like he had left them, when he was there the whole time. What happens when we forget God’s love and protection? When we let go of God’s love? [let go of the umbrella and have a child come and hold the jug] Well, what would happen if I didn’t use this umbrella? That’s right! [Have the child pour the water over you.] I would get wet. My problems and fears would make life feel horrid. That’s why we need to remember that Jesus is with us and his love will always protect us!
2) GOD’S LOVE IS THE BEST PROTECTION
You will need: two shields, one large and one small with the word ‘LOVE’ written on them and some different phrases on sheets of paper.
[Ask a child to come to the front, making sure that they know they are about to have paper thrown at them. Pass paper around for the children to screw up and throw. Then choose another child – preferably one of their friends – to stand with the shield/s and protect their friend]
Say: Wait, that’s not very nice is it? You know, sometimes life throws some hard things at us. Yet when we love someone and we see them going through a hard time it makes us want to protect them. Our mum or dad or our friends might try and protect us with their love. They might try and make us feel better. But did you know, there is someone whose love is even bigger and better than our parents, guardians or friend’s love?! That’s right, it’s God’s love! [replace the smaller shield with the bigger one and have the children throw the paper again. This time with the friend protecting their friend with the bigger shield].
The love of Jesus is way bigger and better than any other person in the entire Universe! He has all the power in the world! Just like he was able to stop the storm, he is able to protect us from all the bad things that happen. That doesn’t mean that nothing bad will ever happen to us. And it also does not mean that we don’t stop feeling it. We might still feel sad or lonely. But it does mean that we can bring it to Jesus, talk to him about it and ask him to help us feel safe and protected from the storms of life. He will help us and be with us through it all. In that way he protects us from feeling the effects of the storm. We don’t have to fear problems because we know that God will be with us. We can feel safe when we bring our problems and we face our problems with Jesus!
SEARCH the Scriptures:
You will need to make shields with the bible verses on them.
Place shields around the room with bible verses attached to them. The children should answer a question and then run for one of the shields. The child with the most shields at the end of the game is the winner.
1. Who was protected from the flood inside an ark? (Noah and his family)
2. Who was protected from the fire inside the furnace? (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego)
3. Who was protected from the lions den? (Daniel)
4. Who asked for the protection of the few righteous people when God said he would wipe out Sodom and Gomorrah? (Abraham)
5. Who prayed and fasted for the protection of their people against Haman and King Xerxes? (Esther)
6. Who protected their people from the giant with a sling and some pebbles? (David)
7. Who was protected inside a big fish for three days? (Jonah)
8. Who prayed for protection for his people, saying that he would rather he was ‘blotted out’ of God’s book than for his people to be killed? (Moses)
9. Who protected David by telling him about their father, King Saul, wanting to kill him? (Jonathan)
10. Who is described in the Psalms by David as a “refuge” “shield” and someone that hides him in the “shadow” of their wing? (God)
Bible verses on Protection:
I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. Genesis 28:15.
The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him. Nahum 1:7
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. Psalm 34:19
The LORD protects and preserves them– they are counted among the blessed in the land– he does not give them over to the desire of their foes. Psalm 41:2.
A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Psalm 91:7.
The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. Psalm 121:7.
No harm overtakes the righteous, but the wicked have their fill of trouble. Proverbs 12:21.
Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10.
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9.
But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. Thessalonians 3:3.
Finish by reading all the bible verses and thanking God for His protection.
SENSE How You Feel:
How did it feel to know that Jesus was there to protect you from the storm?
1. Have the children sit in a rubber dinghy boat as it is swayed by the other children. Ask them to imagine what it would be like to feel like they are about to fall over board. Ask the children to show how they would feel or to tell you. As the children slow the swaying and the ‘sea’ is calmed, ask the children to describe how it would feel to know that Jesus was in control the whole time. That he was there to help and all they had to do was ask.
You will need enough mini cocktail umbrellas for each child.
Pass the children a mini cocktail umbrella each. Ask them to think about a time when God has protected them. Perhaps they have been through a scary time or a time when they faced a big problem. Encourage the children to thank God for the times He has protected them. Remind them that God is always there for them and that they can never be separated from His love.