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«4th & Girls, 4th & 5th Boys Week 1, December 1 This I Promise You Bible Story: This I Promise You (God promises a Savior) • Isaiah 9:6-7 Bottom ...»

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4th & Girls, 4th & 5th Boys Week 1, December 1

This I Promise You

Bible Story: This I Promise You (God promises a Savior) • Isaiah 9:6-7

Bottom Line: I can have joy because God keeps His promises.

Memory Verse: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4, NIV

Life App: Joy—finding a way to be happy, even when things don’t go your way.

Basic Truth: I can trust God no matter what.

Early Arriver Activity (8:45) (10:30) (5:45) What You Need: A large sheet of paper and markers (or several pieces of paper and something to display them on)

What You Do:

Section off your paper into three columns. At the top of each column, write the titles “Promised to Me,” “Promised by Me” and “I Promise.” Welcome kids as they arrive and invite them to share about their week. Ask them to take note of anything that was promised to them or something that was promised by them. For example, maybe a parent said to them, “If you finish your dinner, you’ll get a dessert,” or perhaps they told a friend, “I’ll come out and play with you after I finish my homework.” Talk about it together, and then invite them to write the promises on the paper in either of the first two columns. Tell kids to circle the things that either they were promised or that they promised someone else that actually did happen.

Use the last column to talk about a promise that they are willing to either make to God or to the group for today. Maybe they’re willing to commit to be a good listener or to obey God. After everyone has shared, again invite kids to write their promises out on the board.

What You Say:

“It can really bother us when another person promises something they don’t actually do. We tend to get excited about what they’ve said will happen, which makes it harder if it actually doesn’t take place. On the other hand, if they end up doing what they said they’ll do, we usually feel a greater sense of trust and happiness in the relationship. What we’re going to learn about today is how that plays out between us and God.” Plug In (9:00) (10:45) (6:00) Presenting … Candy!

What You Need: Wrapped box of candy, hidden bag of candy

What You Do:

Hold up the box and say nothing. Just shake it. As kids respond to what you’re doing with questions or comments, just shake it even harder so the noise becomes louder. Don’t let the kids have the box;

simply shake it to intrigue them and make them curious as to what you’re doing. Finally, ask them if they’d like you to open it.

As the kids notice there’s candy inside, explain that if they want some, they’ll have to cheer for it.

Whoever has the best cheer will get some candy. Depending on the size of your group, you can let them do this on their own or in pairs. You can also encourage a more structured cheer, where several lines need to rhyme. Randomly pass out candy until it’s gone, not worrying about how much or little everyone gets.

Debrief with the following questions:

 You may notice that I didn’t say anything when I first showed you the box. If I had, what would you have wanted me to say?

 Were your cheers genuine? Why or why not?

 Did getting the candy make you happy? Why or why not?

 Did I really ruin anyone’s day by not giving them candy or giving them less candy than others?

Why or why not?

 Did anyone in here not get much candy, but still think you’ll probably have a great day? Why or why not?

After the discussion, you can reveal the hidden bag of candy and offer to “even things up” in terms of how much candy everyone got.

What You Say:

“Sometimes we don’t get what other people seem to get, and it can make us unhappy. What we may not realize is joy is still possible even when this happens. [Transition] Let’s go to Large Group, where we’ll find out what joy is all about!” Lead your group to the Large Group area.

Prayer Time After large group, gather children in their small groups. Lead them in prayer focusing on “The Bottom Line.” Catch On #1 Dot Your I’s and Cross your T’s (memory verse activity) What You Need: Paper, pencils, Bibles

What You Do:

Explain that Philippians is a letter written to one of the churches by a church leader named Paul. It contains a lot of encouragement, which ironically was written by Paul when he was in a Roman prison for his faith. Use the following tips for looking the verse up together as a group.

th th Finding verses with 4 -5 graders: Tell kids that the verse is from Philippians. Ask them to tell you whether that’s in the Old Testament or the New Testament. (New) Explain that Philippians is near the end of the Bible. Instruct kids to open their Bibles toward the back. When they find Philippians, explain that the big numbers on the page are the chapter numbers. Tell them to find chapter 4. Explain that the small numbers are verse numbers. Tell them to them find verse 4 in chapter 4.

Next, pass out pencils and paper. Remind the kids that the reference is Philippians 4:4, and in honor of the number four, have kids begin by writing the memory verse out four times on their paper, but instruct them to not dot the letter “i" or cross the letter “t” each time they do. When they’ve completed this, debrief about whether or not that was hard to do.

Finally, prepare to read the memory verse out loud four times as a class. Tell the kids that after each time they read the verse, they are to silently think of one reason why they can rejoice in the Lord. Once they have, they can then dot the “i’s” and cross the “t’s” in that copy of the verse. Repeat this each time, and when you’re done, ask for volunteers who are willing to share one thing they can rejoice in the Lord about.

What You Say:

“Like I shared earlier, God inspired the Apostle Paul to write this when he was put in prison for his faith, because of what he believed. When he told the church to take joy in God, they probably thought that if he could rejoice even when he was in jail, then they really had no excuse not to. The words “joy” or “rejoice” seem to be his favorite words to use all throughout this letter. He seems to be implying that another way to explain joy is finding a way to be happy, even when things don’t go your way. [Apply] When things aren’t going our way, we need to remember to have joy. If we need a reminder of that, we can turn to our memory verse and think about what Paul said. We can also think of all the promises that God has kept over the years. [Impress] I can have joy because God keeps His promises.” Catch On #2 Choose Joy What You Need: Random supplies from your home, such as socks, utensils, tools, toys, a stuffed animal, etc.

What You Do:

Instruct kids to sit in a circle. Spread out the items and tell kids to choose one item that reminds them to choose joy with God’s help in the week to come. (They won’t actually pick up the item; they’ll just choose one mentally. More than one kid can choose the same item.) Let kids share what their objects mean to them. For example, someone may choose a bottle to remember to stay full of good perspective or a photo because it helps them to picture what God wants them to remember. There are no right answers. Tell kids that when they get home they should find that same item and put it somewhere they can see it every day. Finally, pray on behalf of your kids or ask for volunteers who will do this.

What You Say:

“Sometimes we need a little prodding to remember to have joy. The Christmas season does this for many people. As you experience different parts of Christmas this month, such as special traditions or songs on the radio, remember that they’re all reminders that God came to earth to change our lives.

Other people have a hard time at Christmas, because they’re sad or upset about something that has happened, like a divorce, an unemployed parent, or illness. [Apply] Whether things are going well or things are hard, we can still have joy. We can find a way to be happy, even when things don’t go our way. You and [Impress] I can have joy because God keeps His promises.”

–  –  –

Next, pass out the construction paper and have them fold it in half to resemble a card. Give them a marker to write the phrase “Because of Christmas …” in big letters on the front of the card. Instruct them to use the inside space of the card to share one of the things they mentioned they like to experience.

Plug In (9:00) (10:45) (6:00) Thankful for the Water What You Need: water bottles, masking tape, pens

What You Do:

Hold up the bottle. Ask kid to vote on whether or not they’d say the bottle is “half empty” or “half full.” Challenge each answer, allowing kids to explain or defend why they chose the answer they did. If someone answers “both,” ask which phrase they would use more often than the other.

Next, point out that sometimes we can get so focused on what we don’t have that we forget what we have been blessed with. Explain that joy involves being thankful for what we do have and seeing the possibilities. Drive this point home even further by asking them to think of how different situations that

seem depressing can create possibilities:

 What possibilities does a rainstorm create? (Helps grow food that I may one day eat, keeps umbrella companies in business)  What possibilities does not having money to go to the movies create? (Makes me get creative to do something else, forces me to try to earn money)  What possibilities does your parent’s car not starting create? (Perhaps you were spared from an accident, instead of it breaking down in a dangerous area it happened in your driveway where you can get help) Finally, give each student a piece of masking tape and a pen so they can write down one thing in their lives that they’re thankful for. Challenge them to think of something that may not seem like a blessing, such as a sibling they argue with or a physical thing they’re expected to do in their P.E. class that they may not be good at doing. Encourage them to come up and place it on the bottle as a prayer to let God show them the possibilities for joy that they may be missing.

What You Say:

“This activity may have opened you up to how you look at things. Think about how easily you give up on things if they don’t go your way or lose sight of what God may be doing through it. [Transition] Let’s go to Large Group and learn about some people who waited a long time to see what God was doing.” Lead your group to the Large Group area.

Prayer Time After large group, gather children in their small groups. Lead them in prayer focusing on “The Bottom Line.” Catch On #1 Brown Bag Surprise (application activity / review the Bible story) What You Need: Stopwatch or timer, 2 brown bags full of random supplies that can be built into something on their own (such as plastic building blocks) or other items you can bind together with tape

What You Do:

Divide kids into two groups. Let them know that they’ll be receiving a bag full of supplies that they need to build into something as a team without talking to each other or making any noises. They’ll have five minutes to decide what they’ll do with whatever is in the bag. The only rules are they have to use every item, and everyone must somehow contribute.

At this point, students may raise their hands to ask a question. Cut them off from talking and remind them that they can’t speak. If a student seems desperate to ask something, allow him or her to come up and quietly whisper in your ear. Unless it’s an emergency, again state that since they aren’t allowed to talk, you won’t be able to help beyond what you’ve already shared.

As kids work, look for students who may inadvertently cause other students not to contribute or supplies that remain unused in the bag. If you see that becoming a problem, you can repeat the two rules again. When time is up, let the groups know that they can now talk to answer your questions.

What You Say:

“What do you think you made? What do others in the group think you made? (Pause for answers.) How did you feel not being able to talk? (Pause.) Where did you find joy or hope in this activity? (Pause.) When Zacharias lost his ability to speak, it may have seemed hopeless. Instead, he seemed to keep moving along and living life while waiting for the son God promised him. He kept a great attitude He really seemed to be an example of how joy is finding a way to be happy, even when things don’t go your way. [Apply] Let’s take some notes from Zechariah and choose to be happy, even when things are super difficult. We might not lose our ability to speak, but we might get hurt and lose our ability to play soccer or the piano. A friend might move away, or WE might move away, but we can still find joy because we know God can do anything. [Personalize] (Tell kids about a time when you lost something or someone in your life, but God helped you to be joyful.) You and [Impress] I can have joy because anything is possible with God.” Catch On #2 A Lot of Hot Air (application activity / great for active learners) What You Need: Balloons, markers

What You Do:

Hand out balloons and instruct kids to begin to inflate the balloons. If any students experience trouble, offer to help them. Tell kids not to tie the end of the balloon but to hold it.

Next, have students use markers to write on their balloons anything that is stressing them out. Guide them to ideally focus on things that God can change for them or through them, including any prayer requests that they seem to pray on a regular basis.

Finally, let them know that on your signal you will say in unison, [Impress] I can have joy because anything is possible with God. You will do this several times while pausing in between. Each time you say it, everyone is to let a little bit of air out of their balloons. It’s okay if students have fun letting their balloons make the typical noises. Once the balloons have been deflated, instruct the kids to look at them.

What You Say:

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