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Proverbs 16:25; John 14:6; John 10:9
- Photo of trail blazes
What are some important things to take with you on a hike? (allow for answers).
Yes, those are all important things! But I think the most important thing to take is a map. Why is a map important (allow for answers)?
A map helps you to know where you are going and more importantly how you will get back to your bus or car, right? Have you ever been in the woods and then suddenly it seems like the trail disappears? Maybe the woods get really thick and the grass and bushes are really tall and the path in front of you isn’t as clean anymore. What then?
Well, there is another thing that is very useful to help you stay on the trail. Does anyone know what it is? (allow answers).
It’s called a trail blaze and it looks like this (show photo).
Trail blazes are painted marks on trees or rocks that lead you down the correct trail. If you follow the blazes you will always be on the trail and not in the middle of the woods somewhere. The blazes will often show you if the trail turns right or left. And if you were lost in the woods, you could follow the blazes until you came to a road and could get help.
The Bible tells us about a very important path that we should stay on. It’s the path that leads to Heaven. Let’s read Matthew 7:13-14 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway (or path) to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. 14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road (path) is difficult, and only a few ever find it. This verse tells us that we should choose the path that leads to Heaven.
That means following Jesus at all times. It also says that the path to Hell is a wide path because there are a lot of people going down that path. They are choosing not to follow Jesus. They might be choosing to follow other gods or maybe they’ve just decided not to believe. But they are going the wrong way.
When you think about all of the people around you, are they mostly following Jesus or not following Jesus? (allow for answers).
Following Jesus is not always the easy way and that’s why this verse says the narrow road is “difficult.” Sometimes it’s hard to follow Jesus when all of our friends don’t want to. But by loving them and telling them about Jesus we can lead them down the right path too.
Revelation 13:8; Revelation 20:12; Revelation 20:15; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 21:27
- Guest Book. Even a plain notebook will do.
Have you ever been to a really nice restaurant before? When you go to a nice restaurant you don’t just barge in and sit down wherever you want. You usually have to go up to a counter and they ask for your name. Some really nice restaurants even want you to call in a reservation before you come.
(Show the guest book.)
The receptionist will write your name down in the book and let you know when they will seat you. Once they are ready with a table for you they will call you and let you come and sit down and enjoy your delicious meal.
If you just came running in do you think they would give you a table? No! Because you do not have a reservation.
Did you know that Heaven has a reservation list too? It is called the Lamb’s Book of Life. The Bible teaches us that anyone who believes that Jesus is Lord gets their name written in that Book. Once day when we get to Heaven before they let us in they will check to make sure that our name is in the Book of Life.
If your name is in the Book because you gave your life to Jesus then they will let you in. But the Bible says that if your name is not in the list you will be cast out of Heaven and will not be allowed to enter.
If your name in the Book of Life? When we believe that Jesus is Lord and say that with our mouth then God puts our name in the book and makes our reservation for our home in Heaven.
1 John 4:19
Matthew 14:31; John 3:16; Romans 5:8
- A Christmas tree. You can use a full-sized one or just a small one.
Many of us will put up a Christmas Tree in our homes and decorate it for the holidays. Some people use an artificial tree and some people will cut down a living tree to use. I always prefer a real tree because it reminds me that Jesus is alive and powerful.
As we look into the tree we see the trunk in the middle and branches that are extending out from it. When I see the branches of a Christmas Tree it reminds me that Jesus is reaching His arms out to us. He loves us so much that he came to the earth so that he could give us eternal life in Heaven.
The tree also reminds me about the cross that he was crucified on. It was made out of the wood of a tree. As Jesus hung on the cross his arms were still spread out wide. Open to us.
In 1 John 4:19 it says that we love Jesus because he first loved us.
Jesus loves us and offers us the free gift of eternal life. As you see your Christmas Tree this season let it remind you of Jesus and that he loves you so very much!
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Romans 6:23; John 3:16-17; Romans 5:8
- Lump of coal
As Christmas gets closer and closer many people start talking about Santa Claus. The chubby guy in a red suit that delivers gifts to all the good kids in the world. We go to the malls to sit on his lap and tell him all the wonderful things that we want, then we try to be really good so he will actually bring them. But what happens if we aren’t good? What does Santa supposedly bring to bad children?
(Show the lump of coal.)
He brings a lump of coal! That doesn’t sound very nice does it? I sure wouldn’t want to just get a lump of coal for Christmas. But guess what! I am not a very good person. I have done things that I shouldn’t do. In fact, the Bible says in Romans 3:23 that we have ALL sinned and fallen short of God’s standard.
This means that all of us have been on the “Naughty List.” All that we deserve is a big fat lump of charcoal!
However, this holiday really isn’t about Santa Claus, it is about Jesus! It is His birthday that we celebrate. Santa may only be able to give out lumps of coal to people who aren’t very good, but Jesus does something even better!
In John 3:16-17 it says that God sent his Son Jesus to this world to save people. Jesus already knew that all we deserve is a dirty lump of coal, but He wants to give us something MUCH better than that! He wants to make a trade!
Jesus takes our lump of coal for himself and gives us freedom from sin and eternal life in heaven! That is the greatest gift that anyone could ever get.
So Santa may only give our black coal for people who have done bad things, Jesus gives those people the chance to have eternal life. Let us make sure that we remember Jesus and the wonderful gift that He gave us as we celebrate Christmas this year.
Romans 1:15-17; 1 Corinthians 1:17; 1 Corinthians 9:23; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2; Colossians 1:5-7
(Show everyone the news paper and pretend to read it.)
Do you know what this is? (Wait for a response.) It’s a newspaper! Many of us don’t use these anymore because we get our news on the Internet, but some people still like to read them. Do you know what a newspaper does? It writes stories about the things that happened recently.
Do you know what the sad thing about a newspaper is though? Most of the news in it is bad. (Read some of the headlines if they are appropriate.) It tells stories about who stole from who. How bad the government is. Who hurt someone. Stories about war. Stories about storms. It’s all a bunch of BAD NEWS!
I don’t know about you, but I get sick and tired of all the bad news! I want some good news! Do you want some good news? If someone says to you that they have “good news” and “bad news” which do you want to hear? The good news!
(Hold up the Bible.)
This is the Bible, God’s Word, the Gospel…the Good News! Do you know why this is called the Good News? Because it doesn’t tell us all the bad things about the world, it tells us how to live a new life. How to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ! It shows us how we can have Salvation and how Christ has prepared a place for us to live with Him in Heaven.
In Mark 13:10 it tells us that we are supposed to tell other people about this Good News that we have! We are not supposed to just keep it to ourselves! We are supposed to share it.
We are told in the Scripture that we need to tell others about Jesus and how they can be saved. This is the Good News! Let’s share it with others!
Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:9-10; Romans 8:32; Romans 5:10; John 3:36
- Small figure of baby Jesus, such as one from a nativity set (alternately you could use a cross)
- A gift bag and tissue paper or a gift box and wrapping paper
- Small treat or prize, such as a candy
Do you guys like to open presents? I want some of you to tell me about the best present that you ever got! (Allow for responses).
The best present I ever got was (use your own story here).
Do you guys like to give presents? Isn’t it exciting to buy your friend a present and watch them open it on their birthday? Presents seem to get everyone excited. Well, I brought a present with me today (bring out the beautifully wrapped present) and I am going to let one of you open it.
(Choose a volunteer to open the gift. Ask the volunteer to tell everyone what it is:Baby Jesus or cross).
You know, God is a very generous giver. The Bible tells us in John 3:16 that God loved the world so much that He gave his only Son so that is any of us will believe in Him we won’t perish but we will have everlasting life in Heaven!
God sent His only Son into the world as a human baby and we celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas. When Jesus was an adult He began to teach people about God and soon after that He died on the cross and He rose from the dead and that is what we celebrate at Easter time.
Now, imagine how hard it must have been for God to give up His only Son and allow Him to die on the cross for you and me. That must have been a hard thing to do, but God did it because He loves us so much. He says that all we have to do is believe in Jesus and we will have eternal life with Him in heaven. Believing in Jesus is the way that we receive this wonderful gift from God. You could also give someone the top wii games for kids to bring the family together at the end of along day and after you are done playing have a talk about god and pray.
(Say to your volunteer) I am going to give you a gift for helping me today (hold out the candy) and all you have to do is take it out of my hand to receive it. (Have the volunteer take the candy and sit down). All they had to do was receive it! I want to give all of your here the opportunity to receive this amazing gift, the gift of God’s Son and eternal life. (Pray with them and give them the opportunity to receive Christ).
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