Bible Story: The Magi

Christmas-PresentPROP:  A wrapped Christmas gift

Does anyone remember what gifts were given at the very first Christmas? There were three
gifts presented to the baby Jesus—gold, frankincense, and myrrh—and the gifts came from the
men we call the three kings, or the Magi.

Have any of you ever wondered who the Magi were or where they came from? The book of
Matthew describes them as traveling from the East. According to tradition, they arrived two
years after the birth of Christ. Mary and Joseph were still in Bethlehem, but they were probably
living in a house or inn by the time the Magi arrived.

The birth of Christ had been prophesied for centuries, but their prophecies were only spoken
to and for the Jews. The Magi were not Jewish. They came from Persia. They were scientists,
mathematicians, and astronomers. So how did they come to know about the birth of Jesus?
They knew because of the prophet Daniel.

Yes, this is the same Daniel who was thrown into a den of lions. Daniel was a Jew, and as a boy,
he was taken prisoner by King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel was raised and trained to be a Magi
who served as an advisor to the king in addition to all his scientific studies. When Daniel grew
up, he became one of the Magi. He served as advisor to the kings of both Babylon and Persia.
He was one of the most powerful men in the world, and he was the leader of the Magi.

It was Daniel who introduced the Magi to the writings of Moses and the prophets. It was Daniel
who taught them about God and God’s promise to redeem the world through the Messiah.
Daniel shared with them the prophecies about the Messiah. When the star appeared over
Bethlehem, the Magi saw and recognized it as the sign that the Messiah had been born.
The Magi came to worship God and also to confirm for themselves the truth of what their
forefather Daniel had taught them. They were ready and waiting, and when the Messiah was
born, they were ready.

How sad that the people who were originally given the prophecies—the Jews—were not ready.
In fact, the king of the Jews, Herod, attempted to kill the baby Jesus when he learned about
the Magi and their quest to find the Messiah!

The Magi are a reminder that the gift of Christmas—Jesus—is for all people. They also remind
us that we all need to keep watch. Jesus is going to come back. Will we recognize the signs
when he does? Or is there a chance that we, like Herod, might stand against him?


To download this story, click here:  TheMagi-ChristmasGift

Bible Story: Zechariah

learningresourcesdryeraseboard3PROPS: A mini-marker board, an erasable marker, and an eraser

(For this object lesson, the leader will not speak. Everything will be written on the marker
board. Write each part of the story, let the older kids read it so the younger know what the
story is, and then erase and write the next part.)

How would you like it if this were the only way you could communicate?

Imagine if you had some great news and you couldn’t tell anyone…

Because you could not speak?

That happened to Zechariah.

Zechariah was a priest. He and his wife had no children.

One day, an angel appeared to Zechariah.

The angel said that he would have a son, and his son would be a prophet.

Zechariah did not believe the angel.

Because he didn’t believe, God took away his ability to speak.

Zechariah’s wife became pregnant just as the angel said.

Zechariah did not speak until the day his son was born.

He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.”

His son was John the Baptist, and when he grew up…

He had even bigger news than his father.

He got to tell the world that Jesus was coming.

We can tell the world about Jesus too.

We can tell them that Jesus will forgive their sins.

Don’t be silent. You have good news to share too.


To download this story, click here: Zechariah-MarkerBoard

Bible Story: Veggie Sticks–Daniel

timthumbProps: A plate of celery and carrots; optional plate of candy bars

Scripture: Daniel 1

(Offer the veggies to the students.)

Does anyone want a snack this morning? How many of you eat celery or carrots on a regular
basis? How many of you, given the choice of anything at home, would pick veggies over
crackers, cookies, candy, or anything else?

(Optional: Offer them the candy bars.)

How many of you would rather have a delicious candy bar instead? Before you answer, let me
tell you a story about a boy named Daniel.

Daniel was an Israelite. He was still just a boy when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon
conquered the Israelites. After conquering Israel, Nebuchadnezzar took hundreds of young
boys like Daniel captive, bringing them into his palace. They were not prisoners, however.
These boys were enrolled in a special school, where they learned the law of Babylon. If they
did well, they would have a chance to serve the king in his palace.

Living in the palace meant the boys in this program got to eat like royalty. They were brought
the best-tasting, fattiest, sweetest, tastiest food imaginable. Most of the boys ate it up, but
one day, the king’s servants received a request from Daniel and his friends to eat vegetables
and drink water.

The king’s servants were upset by this. They were responsible for keeping the boys well-fed,
and if they didn’t eat, they were failing in their duties. They and the king were surprised by
the request for healthy food. Not only was it bold to challenge the king’s rules, but also they
were asking for plain old water and vegetables. It didn’t make any sense!

Daniel convinced the servants to test them on the veggie diet. If they weren’t as healthy as
the other students in a few weeks, they would give up the veggies and eat the king’s food.
Can you guess what happened? Daniel and his friends were healthier than the other boys.
They were so healthy, the king ordered that all the students be put on the same veggie diet!

What can we learn from Daniel and his friends? One obvious lesson is to eat your veggies.
But there’s a bigger lesson to be learned here: self-discipline. The boys could have given
in and gone along with the crowd, but they wanted to stick with the healthy diet they had
always eaten. They refused to give in to peer pressure, they took the hard road, and they were
rewarded. All four of them eventually became officials in the government.

Self-discipline isn’t easy, but when it comes to choosing God’s way or the world’s way, it’s the
only way to go. It will keep you healthy, wise, strong, and better able to be used by the Lord.


Download this story by clicking here:  Daniel-VeggieSticks

Bible Story: The Boy Who Brought Lunch

Cars-Lunch-Box-Wallpaper-lunch-boxes-2460401-1296-972Prop: A lunch box

Scripture: John 6:1-14

How many of you have a lunch box like this? Do most of you carry your lunch to school, or do you
buy lunch in the cafeteria? Do you ever trade snacks and goodies with your friends? What’s the
best lunch trade you were ever able to make?

Today I want to tell you about a boy with a lunch box. In his case, it was probably a basket, and the
lunch he took might not be worth much in trade. He had five small loaves of bread and two pieces
of fish. How many of you would be willing to give up your Twinkies for a piece of fish?

The boy wasn’t going to school that day, but he was going to hear a great teacher: Jesus. He was
one in a large number of people who went to hear Jesus that day. The Bible says there were 5,000
men. If we guess there was one woman and two children for every man there, that means this little
boy was one of at least 20,000 people gathered to hear Jesus speak!

It was getting late in the day, and Jesus was still speaking to the crowd. It was close to suppertime,
and many of the people were probably getting hungry. Very few, if any, of them brought food like
the little boy did.

At the front of the crowd, Jesus’ disciples were telling him to send the people away so they
could get dinner. But then Jesus, as he often did, put a challenge to the disciples: You give them
something to eat! The disciples were beside themselves. It would cost a fortune to feed so
many people!

Now we don’t know how it happened, but somehow, this little boy found out that Jesus was looking
to feed the crowd. One of the disciples brought him to Jesus, and the little boy offered the little
food that he had: five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus took the food and blessed it. Then he
began to break up the food and distribute it among the people with his disciples. Suddenly, one
little boy’s lunch fed more than 20,000 people—with 12 baskets of food left over besides!

It would have been very easy for the little boy to keep his lunch for himself. He was one person in a
crowd of 20,000, and what difference would five loaves of bread and two fish make in a crowd that
large? But the little boy didn’t keep it to himself. He gave all he had. He placed it in Jesus’ hands,
and look what Jesus did with it!

No gift is too small when given to the Lord, and no offering is too small to make a difference.
Remember that, and look for opportunities to give to God and to others. You’ll be amazed at what
he can do with a giving heart!


Download this story by clicking here: Boy-LunchBox

How to Peel a Bible Story

women-peeling-orange-lgYour Bible story is like an orange.  You can had it off to a kid and expect him to tear into it and eat it.  Or you can peel it yourself and hand it in slices to the kid.  It is easier for the kid to eat if you hand it to him in bite-sized pieces that are already peeled.  Bible stories are easier for kids to understand and apply if you break them down and serve them in small parts.

“How do I peel apart a Bible story to get out of it something I can teach kids?”  This is not the same as explaining how I teach a lesson.  This is not about skits, object lessons, games, or other teaching methods.  This is about digging into the Bible story for the points that make the story important and applicable.  What’s cool about this story?

As you prepare for your lesson, read the story, pretending that it just occurred.  See it through a fresh perspective.  Imagine that it just happened yesterday.  Jericho’s walls fell down yesterday.  Moses divided the Red Sea this morning.  David killed Goliath last night.  That will help you FEEL the story.  Then it will be easier to see what’s cool about the story that makes it alive.  I want to see the story in a way that makes the characters real, displays the conflict in the story, and makes the story compelling to hear.

What did the people in the story feel?  Put yourself in the story.  What do you think you would have felt? Or done?  Make it real.  Keep it honest.  Don’t get religious.

How would you have felt if Moses made a highway through the sea and it was your turn to march between the walls of water?  I, for one, am not sure I would have done it.  If I did, I would have run with everything I had before those walls of water collapsed!  I feel creepy when I walk through the glass tunnel at one of those aquarium theme parks and watch the fish swim over my head.  Take the glass away, and I’ll just wait in the parking lot.

What is in the story that I can relate to today?  I seldom see a giant standing in my neighborhood shouting insults at God.  It has been awhile since a snake offered me anything to eat.  But, I can relate to problems that seem bigger than life, and I know what it is to be tempted to do something wrong.  Make a list.  What threatening problems do kids face today?  What are they tempted to do?  What is the transferable action?  What did someone in the story do that we can do today?  Can we follow an example in the story?  What is it?  Be careful with this one.

Make sure the action is consistent with the Gospel of God’s grace.  There is a difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament.  In the Old Testament, the emphasis is God’s law–what we do for God.  In the New Testament, the emphasis is God’s grace–what God did for us through Jesus.  Both are about faith, so we can draw from the whole Bible, but do not leave the impression that our daily actions determine our acceptance by God. Make sure the Gospel is clear.  Jesus died for our sins and rose again to give us His perfect life so that we could have assurance of our destiny with Him in heaven.  Prayer, worship, Bible reading, loving one another, giving, etc., are relevant truths that impact our lives.  Look for them in the story, but do not confuse kids by making it seem like the actions earn our salvation.

David had the courage to take on Goliath because he believed God would be faithful to His covenant, the deal He made with His people to protect them.  We can trust God to be true to His promises today.

Joshua and the people had to be quiet as they marched around Jericho   We would often be better off if we kept our mouths shut instead of complaining all the time.

Look for the relevant action and milk it.  Make it relevant and easy.  If it is irrelevant to life today, then you missed the point of the story.  If it is too hard to live up to, then you are making it harder than God intended.

What does the story tell us about God?  This is the most important step.  Ask what the story reveals about God that we might not know otherwise.  How does the story tell us what God is like?  Nothing is more important in the spiritual development of kids than for them to have a basic understanding of what God is like.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue”  (2 Peter 1:2-3 NKJV).

I have a simple interpretation of this verse.  To me, it means that God’s grace, peace and power for living flow from our knowledge of what God is like.  If we have a distorted view of what God is like, then we can expect a lack of grace, peace and power.  If we have a correct view of what God is like, we can expect grace, peace and power in our lives.

What do some of the familiar Bible stories tell us about God?  The story of David and Goliath tell me that God enjoys seeing the weak win in life.  Remember that David could hardly stand up under Saul’s armor.  The story of Jericho tells me that God likes doing great things against big odds.  That is a reoccurring theme in the Bible.  The story of Paul on the road to Damascus tells me that God sometimes chooses mean people so He can turn them around and do cool things through them.  That is the kind of God we have.  That’s what He is like.

Most of us agree that we want to promote kids having a personal relationship with the Lord.  If so, then there is no better place to start than by painting an accurate picture of God, showing what He is like.  Far from the distant, mean, uninvolved God conveyed in today’s world, the real God has a magnetic personality.  With His unconditional love, limitless knowledge and observable power, He becomes irresistible to people who learn what He is like.  And kids can grow up being attracted to a God like that.