BIG IDEA: GOD GIVES ME HOPE
AIM: The aim of the ‘Up’ Childrens Lesson is to help children to understand and see that Jesus gives us hope in hopeless situations so we do not have to fear the future.
Say: This session uses an Up sign to help us remember the story of Lazarus. Do you know why? It’s because Lazarus was raised up from the dead!
ICEBREAKER: What event are you getting excited about at the moment?
SONG IDEAS AND BIBLE STORY VIDEOS available on our dedicated Pinterest Board.
- Roll up Lazarus. (regular/widescreen) Children get into teams and must wrap one of their team members up in toilet roll as fast as they can. The team with the best wrapped Lazarus is the winning team.
- Unwrap Lazarus. (regular/widescreen) Wrap a number of leaders up in long pieces of cloth. Time the children to see how fast they can unravel Lazarus. The quickest child or team in the winner/winning team.
- Watch out, Lazarus! (regular/widescreen) Children wrap up a leader in toilet roll and must then guide them around an obstacle course, dodging cones and chairs and soft balls that other teams are throwing at them. The first team’s Lazarus to reach the end is the winning team!
SET the Scene:
- Which one of Jesus’ friends died? (Lazarus)
- Who cried about it? (His sister Mary)
- What did Martha tell Jesus? (Lazarus wouldn’t have died if Jesus was there)
- What did Jesus say to bring Lazarus out? (Come out Lazarus)
- What did Lazarus come out in? (His bandages)
- How many days had Lazarus been dead for? (four days)
SPOT the Simple Meaning:
1) GOD GIVES ME HOPE
Explain to the children that every time you say the word ‘hope’ you want them to point their arms up.
Say: Hope means I can look up! I don’t have to be down and depressed and feeling sad. I can look up and trust that God will bring me through any situation! That’s because hope helps me to see the good in the world and remember that God is good. Hope helps me remember Jesus. Hope makes me strong. Why? Because hope is all about knowing that God isn’t finished yet.
I can hope in Jesus because he is in control and He knows what He is doing in my life! Hope helps me to not let go of the good that God wants me to do. Hope helps me to see that things can always get better. Mary and Martha could have hope that Lazarus would be okay because they trusted Jesus. They had hope that one day they would see their brother in heaven. Yet Jesus gave them a greater hope! Jesus did the impossible and raised them from the dead.
God gives us hope in the impossible! So even when we have an impossible, horrible situation, I can always look up and have hope that God can do anything! Why? Because Jesus didn’t just defeat death with Lazarus – but Jesus raised back to life after 3 days of being dead too! I can have hope because Jesus defeats death! He gives me HOPE!
2) WITH GOD I KNOW I HAVE A GOOD FUTURE
Get out your diary and show the children some of the upcoming events that you have planned. Tell them about something you are excited about and something you are a little nervous about, explain that you are trusting God for everything to be okay.
Say: Sometimes people get scared about what will happen next. They get afraid because they don’t know what the future is. Have you ever been scared of the future? [Get feedback] The Bible tells us that we can know God gives us a good future.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
No matter what happens, God knows the future. Jesus knew that God had the power to raise Lazarus from the dead. We can know that God has good things in store for us and our families. Even if bad things happen, we can know that God will always bring something around for our good. With God we can know we have a good future.
We don’t know the future, but we do know God. God is good and we know that He has a good future planned for us.
SEARCH the Scriptures:
HUNT FOR HOPE. (regular/widescreen) Print the hope bible verses and safety pin them to different pieces of fabric. It could be sheets or old tshirts. Then have some extra fabric and clothes that have no bible verses on them. The children must take turns to run to the fabric, grab a piece and bring it back to the team. They must check it for a bible verse and dress one of their team in the fabric/clothes item. Then they tag the next player. The team member dressed with the most bible verses will show the winning team.
Alternatively tape the bible verses to an unravelled toilet roll, then roll the toilet roll back up. Teams must then wrap the toilet roll around their team member. The number or bible verses they have rolled them in determines the winning team.
Application: Lazarus’ bandages and cloths were a sign of hopelessness. He had died. Jesus told the people to take them off him because he was now alive! We can also ‘wear’ hope by remembering the bible verses and taking them wherever we go!
- What does hope mean to you?
- Have you ever felt hopeless?
- What do you do when life feels hopeless?
- Who do you go to when life is bad?
- What can we remember when life is tough?
- How does Jesus bring hope?
- How has Jesus given you hope?
- How can you share this hope you have found?
SENSE How You Feel:
Imagine you were one of Lazarus’ sisters.
How does it feel to watch Lazarus walk out of the cave?
Encourage the children to think about their answer to this question as they do one or more of the activities below. Come together afterwards and discuss how you would feel.
- Make the Raising Lazarus scene. Simply cut out the printable and stick each piece to a green piece of card.
- Create a Lazarus pencil tin. Use a tin can (make sure it isn’t too sharp edged) and wrap fabric around it and secure with sticky back tape, then add two large google eyes.
- Have a tub filled with fabric where the children can dress up as Lazarus and re- enact the scene themselves.
- Color/Fill in the ‘Up’ activity sheets for 5-7s and 8-11s.
- Check out the ‘Lazarus’ Pinterest board for more ideas.
Say: It’s easy to lose hope when life turns bad, when we’re scared or we don’t understand what is going on. Yet I have decided when life is bad I will look up and remember who God is and what He has done. I will celebrate His goodness and remember that He hasn’t finished yet. I will hope in Jesus. Will you join with me and choose to hope in Him?
If you would like to choose to hope, please come and collect one of these little ‘I Will Hope in You’ printables to remind you to hope again. Let’s pray:
God, when life is tough and I want to give up, please help me to hope in You. When I’m upset and I don’t understand help me to hope in You. When I’m afraid of the future and of the unknown help me to hope in You. I choose to remember that You are good and that You love me and have a good plan for my life. Amen.
If the children don’t yet know Jesus for themselves, you can invite them to get to know Jesus and make him Lord of their life. Remind them that if Mary and Martha had never met Jesus they would never have seen their brother come back to life. God wants to do exciting and hope filled things in our lives – but we need to know Him for those things to happen!