Preparing our hearts for Easter

Water-Paint-Paper

It's been a while since I've posted a craft project. And this one falls right in line with our Easter preparations. Which thankfully are happening more and more in our hearts and conversations and less and less at Target and in the kitchen. The remembrance of Jesus on the cross on Good Friday is somber and full of reflection. Easter is when all the lights come on and the day is full of celebration in thanks for our risen Savior. There are several activities and Bible stories I am hoping to share with you in the next couple of weeks so that you can pick one or two and use them with your family to prepare your hearts for the somber waiting of Good Friday and the jubilant celebration of Easter. Yesterday, I led a craft with the kids at our church which is appropriate for kids age 2-adults! Everyone loved it and was able to complete it on their own. I was a little surprised at how intimidating watercolor is for most people, but it's really simple if you just remember three words. Water, paint, paper.

For your supplies you need watercolor paper, watercolors, a paint brush, a cup for water, and painters tape. Notice I said watercolor paper. Cardstock, printer paper, and construction paper aren't made to hold the amount of water that you need to use for painting with watercolors. So do yourself a favor and go grab some from a craft store. I get mine at Hobby Lobby in a notepad. It comes with 30 sheets for about $10. Take along a 40% off coupon and you'll get it for a steal at $6! For the paint, I prefer Crayola watercolors. They take on water very well and the colors are extra brilliant. Some of the cheaper brands tend to take a long time to absorb any water, so if this is the kind you have around your house, just put a couple drops of water in each color and let them sit there for a while before you paint (about 10 minutes). Any old brush will do just fine for this project. And be sure you have painters tape, not masking tape, duct tape, or packing tape. (I know, I used masking tape in the pictures...)The other kinds will rip the top layer off your paper at the end and make you sad (which it did for mine).

To begin, tape around the edge of your paper. This accomplishes two things. It creates a border for your art and adheres the paper to the table so it won't move around while you are painting.

Next, tape a cross in the center of the paper.

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Now begin painting. Do you remember your three words? Water-paint-paper. If you are doing this with small children you will say that phrase 600 times before its all said and done. Now just let them have complete freedom with what colors they choose. This may drive some of you nutso, but it's time to let go. If you can't stop messing with theirs, make one of your own! Don't worry if all of the paints begin to look brown. You'll just run a little water over them at the end and they'll clear right up. Keep reminding them, water-paint-paper!

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Keep painting until all the white paper not covered by tape has been painted. It's important to paint right up to the tape lines. Don't worry, it won't seep under.

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When everything white has been painted wait until the paint is dry, or at leats not dripping wet anymore. Then slowly remove the tape. Now the contract of the white cross against what may have seemed like a mess of paint and ugly colors stands out brilliantly.

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To take this art project deeper this about it in terms of the dark, swirling, mixed up paint as our sin. It's a mess. There is no reason or order to it. It is out of control. (See why I wouldn't let you control it?) But there is hope! By dying on the cross, Jesus literally erased our record of sin (Which is what your painting depicts as you remove the tape). By believing in Christ we are justified. Elyse Fitzpatrick puts it like this:

Justification means that our record before God is 'just as if we had never sinned.' Never sinned? No, never. And while this is wonderful news, it is only half the story. It also means, 'just as if we had always obeyed!' We've been given a record of complete righteousness!

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Now what if your child's painting (or yours) didn't turn out dark and ugly? That's great! You can focus on the glorious day when Jesus rose from the grave and washed all our sins away!

I hope you enjoy this art project, watercolor can bee so soothing a peaceful. But more so, I hope that it will stir your affections for Christ as you rejoice in the fact that we as believers have been given the righteousness of God. (Romans 3:21-22) Let your parched soul drink in that truth today.

 

PSS Review: He is Risen

This is the final lesson for our Easter series. I realize this is a week late for most of you, but my Sunday School class reviews what the kids learned last week in children's church. Maybe you can utilize this lesson next year or any time you want to celebrate that Jesus is Alive! Focus: Jesus is Alive!

Lesson:

Have the kids dress up in Bible times outfits and explain that they will do what I do and say what I say.

It has a similar cadence to “Going on a Bear Hunt”.

Pat legs, alternating like footsteps.

Mary and friends walking to the tomb. (Kids repeat: Mary and friends walking to the tomb. )

They were very sad. (Kids repeat and make a very sad face : They were very sad. )

Jesus had died. (Kids repeat : Jesus had died)

They were very sad. (Kids repeat and make a very sad face: They were very sad. )

So they’re walking to the tomb. (Kids repeat: So they’re walking to the tomb)

They’re getting closer (Kids repeat: They’re getting closer)

And they stopped! (Stop patting legs) (Kids repeat: And they stopped!)

They looked (Kids hold hand above their eyes like they are searching)

And they were surprised! (Make a surprised face)

The stone was gone! (Ask friend next to you: Where is the stone? 2x)

So they walked faster (Pat legs again, faster) (Kids repeat: So they walked faster)

All the way to the tomb (Kids repeat: All the way to the tomb)

They walked inside (Kids repeat: They walked inside)

They looked really hard (hold hand above eyes again)

And then they screamed! (kids: Aaah!)

They saw an angel and he said, “Why are you here? (Ask friend next to you “Why are you here?” 3x)

He said dead people live here (Kids repeat: Dead people live here)

But Jesus isn’t here! (Kids repeat: Jesus isn’t here!)

Have kids stand up and crouch down and say: Jesus is…

Then they jump up and say: ALIVE!

(Repeat that part)

The ladies were so surprised (Surprise face)

The other ladies ran home (Pat legs quickly) (kids repeat: The other ladies ran home)

But Mary stayed behind.

She listened (cup hand to ear and listen)

And she heard someone! (cup hand to other ear)

She thought “It must be the gardener” (Say to friend: It must be the gardener)

He’ll know where Jesus is (Say to friend: He’ll know where Jesus is)

Then she heard a voice. (Everyone still and not moving)

Mary! (Kids repeat: Mary!)

It was Jesus! (Kids repeat: It was Jesus!)

Have kids stand up and crouch down and say: Jesus is…

Then they jump up and say: ALIVE!

Have kids stand up and crouch down and say: Jesus is…

Then they jump up and say: ALIVE!

Craft: Tissue and contact paper tomb

Supplies: small tissue paper squares in various colors, brown construction paper, marker, scissors, paper crosses, printout of Luke 24:6 for each child, contact paper, brad fasteners

1- Each child gets two pieces of brown paper. On one, draw the side of a mountain and on the other draw a circle. Let the children cut out the circle.

2- The child places different colored tissue paper on the paper above the mountain to make a sky and places that verse inside the mountain.

3- The teacher covers their paper with contact paper so the tissue paper and verse stay in place.

4- The teacher helps the child punch the brad through the brown circle and the paper at the top of the mountain. The brown circle is the stone that can now be rolled away.

Memory Verse:

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned - every one - to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6

*Interactive lesson from KidMinThoughts

** Craft and picture from Mother Hubbard's Cupboard

GOOD Friday

Do you believe that everything happens for a reason? That God has an ultimate plan and is in supreme control? Do you believe this even when you are uncomfortable or don't fully understand the situation you have found yourself in. Let me assure you that God is in control and if you are his child he means nothing but good for you. Today we remember the darkest day in the history of the world. Many people did not understand what was happening on that day. Some might have thought God heartless and cruel. Those who believed Jesus was who he said he was, the Son of God, were wracked with confusion and grief.

I was asked to read this passage at our church's Good Friday service tonight. It strikes me that this passage is from Isaiah, written many years before the Messiah came. Please read. Isaiah 52:13 -53:12 (Good News Version)

13 The Lord says, My servant will succeed in his task; he will be highly honored.

14 Many people were shocked when they saw him; he was so disfigured that he hardly looked human.

15 But now many nations will marvel at him, and kings will be speechless with amazement. They will see and understand something they had never known.

 1 The people reply, Who would have believed what we now report? Who could have seen the Lord's hand in this?

2 It was the will of the Lord that his servant  grow like a plant taking root in dry ground.  He had no dignity or beauty to make us take notice of him. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing that would draw us to him.

 3 We despised him and rejected him; he endured suffering and pain.  No one would even look at him,   we ignored him as if he were nothing.

4 But he endured the suffering that should have been ours, the pain that we should have borne.  All the while we thought that his suffering was punishment sent by God.

5 But because of our sins he was wounded, beaten because of the evil we did. We are healed by the punishment he suffered, made whole by the blows he received.

 6 All of us were like sheep that were lost, each of us going his own way.  But the Lord made the punishment fall on him, the punishment all of us deserved.

 7 He was treated harshly, but endured it humbly;   he never said a word. Like a lamb about to be slaughtered, like a sheep about to be sheared, he never said a word.

 8 He was arrested and sentenced and led off to die, and no one cared about his fate.  He was put to death for the sins of our people.

9 He was placed in a grave with those who are evil, he was buried with the rich, even though he had never committed a crime or ever told a lie.

 10 The Lord says, It was my will that he should suffer; his death was a sacrifice to bring forgiveness.    And so he will see his descendants; he will live a long life, and through him my purpose will succeed.

11 After a life of suffering, he will again have joy; he will know that he did not suffer in vain. My devoted servant, with whom I am pleased, will bear the punishment of many and for his sake I will forgive them.

12 And so I will give him a place of honor, a place among the great and powerful.  He willingly gave his life and shared the fate of evil men. He took the place of many sinners and prayed that they might be forgiven.

As we remember today all the events leading up to Christ's death let us remember that everything happened according to God's plan and purpose. From Jesus being ordinary and forgettable, to him being misunderstood and despised, and finally to him laying down his life for us, sinners deserving of the death that he endured, all of it was according to God's sovereign plan. Let us thank God today for making a way for us through the humiliation and suffering of his Son.

PSS Review {A dark night in the garden}

Our children's ministry started Easter lessons last week. This is the second lesson in that series. To see the first, go here. We will be using the stories from the Jesus Storybook Bible throughout this series. Scripture: The Garden of Gethsemane from Luke 22, Mark 14, and John 18

Age group: 4-5 years olds

Lesson: Read pg 294-302 in the Jesus Storybook Bible. If you don't have this Bible, just summarize the story of the garden of Gethsemane from Jesus praying to his arrest.

Focus: It was for this reason that I was born into the world. {JSB pg 301, John 18:11} 

Discussion Questions:

Why was Jesus so sad in the garden? God was going to pour into Jesus' heart all the sadness and brokeness in people's hearts. He was going to pour into Jesus' body all the sickness in people's bodies. God was going to blame his son for everything that had gone wrong {JSB p294}.

What was the worst part of Jesus dying going to be? Jesus was going to not be with God, he was going to lose God because that is the punishment for sin that Jesus was taking on for us {JSB p295}.

Even though Jesus was scared and upset, did he still trust God? Did he still obey him? Yes, obeying God means following with our hearts and our actions.

Think of a time when you were scared and upset. Can you still trust God in those times even though you might not understand what is happening?Yes

Could Jesus have stopped the soldiers from arresting him?Yes, Jesus can do anything.

Why didn't Jesus stop them? He was obeying God. He knew that God sent him to die for our sins, and being arrested was part of the plan.

Why was Jesus born into the world? To die for our sins

Activities:

{1} Craft: Scratch and draw.

A while back I picked up this kit from Hobby Lobby. It came with 35 scratch sheets and one wooden scratch stick. I made some more scratch sticks out of bamboo skewers. You use the skewers to scratch the black paper which reveals a colored layer underneath. I created a stencil of Jesus praying in the garden so the kids could scratch this image into their scratch sheets. They can also add trees or flowers for a garden, but I kind of like leaving the background black to emphasize the loneliness of Jesus. Then we scratched the words "trust and obey" into the sheet.

{2} Game: Freeze tag

It was really nice this week, so we went to the courtyard in front of our church to play. I chose freeze tag with a modification. You might have to explain the rules to some of the kids.

Choose someone to be "it". Everyone else runs around and "it" tries to tag them. When "it" tags someone they have to freeze like they are. But in our game they have to freeze laying down on the ground like they are asleep. The frozen person can only wake up if someone runs by and tags them again. The game is over if "it" gets everyone and everyone is frozen. Or, if "it" is getting tired you can choose another person to help them, or start over with a new "it. 

At the end of the game sit the kids down and talk about the part of the story when Jesus asked his friends to watch and pray, but they fell asleep.

{3} Act out the story. This story lends itself to being acted out. Everyone can have a part as Jesus or a disciple. Then in the end of the story they can be soldiers, which the boys will love. I brought along my son's toy swords. If your church has potted plants or indoor trees, you might borrow them to create a garden in your classroom.

PSS Review {The servant king}

This is the first lesson in our Easter series. We will be teaching from the Jesus Storybook Bible. Scripture: The Lord's Supper from Mark 14 and John 13-14

Age group: 2-5 years old

Lesson: Read pgs 286-292 in the Jesus Storybook Bible. Or summarize the story from the Bible beginning with Jesus washing feet and ending with the Lord's Supper.

Focus: We can love others because Jesus loved us.

Discussion Questions:

Have you ever played outside without your shoes on and they got muddy or dirty? What is the first thing your mom makes you do when you get inside? Wash your feet 

Back in Jesus' time people didn't wear shoes like we do, so any time they were outside their feet got really dirty. So they had to wash them when they came inside, especially if they were about to eat.

Why did Jesus was his friends' feet? He was showing them what it was like to be a servant. To make other people more important than you.

How can you be a servant to others? Let the kids think of ways, and help they if they get stuck.

Jesus served his friends a meal after he washed their feet. What was he trying to tell them during the meal? That he was going to be a servant again by giving his body and blood to save people from their sins.

Why did Jesus make himself a servant when he is the king of everything?Because he loved his friends, and because he loves us.

How can we say 'thank you' to Jesus for becoming a servant for us? By being a servant to others, by loving others because he loved us.

Activities:

1} Watercolor feet. I printed out a picture of feet that I found on the internet and added the phrase "Jesus washed his friends feet because he loved them. You can do nice things for others because you love them!"

Cover your table with a plastic tablecloth. Give each child a printout, and paint brush, a small cup of water, and a tray of watercolors. We had one tray of watercolors for two children. Take time to explain how watercolors work before you let them dive in. Since my kids were so young this week, I got the paint wet for them ahead of time by adding a drop of water to each color. That way the paint had a chance to soften and they wouldn't just be painting with water. Have the children paint their feet pictures and talk about how this reminds you of Jesus washing his friends' feet with water and how you are so thankful that Jesus made himself a servant.

Since the kids painted on printer paper, we glued construction paper to the back to make it a little stronger.

You can find the feet clipart in google images. Search 'feet clipart'. Or go here.

2} Free play. I always have a lot of structured activities in mind when I get to the class, but many times kids need some down-time to play and be silly. This is especially true when they are expected to sit and listen several times in a morning like they are at church. So this week, we just let them play.  We have a variety of toys and games in our room. Cars, puzzles, a kitchen area with dishes, balls. We also have a cd player and kid friendly bible songs. Many times, the kids ask for music and then just dance around! Be involved during play time. it has been my experience that the more you bond with kids at this age, the more apt they are to listen during storytime. The mats on the floor are what I use for storytime when I have a large class with young kids. It helps them to stay in their own space and to sit still.