Build Your Faith on the Rock!
This is an independent lesson written to present the Easter story. It is one of the most important lessons of the year because Jesus' resurrection is the key to Christianity. This monumental event is necessary in a personal relationship with God. This must be communicated on a regular basis but Easter provides an opportunity to explain in detail.
God loves us and sent Jesus to earth. Jesus died for our sins. He took a punishment that we deserved. He stood in our place as a substitute. The past series had an emphasis on sin. The children are aware that they are not perfect and they know that Jesus will forgive them. It is important that they can fit the work of Christ on the cross into their understanding of forgiveness and sin.
The world has a commercial view of Easter. Most holidays have been altered by flashy marketing strategies and glitzy sales tactics. As a result of this, many children in the 90's do not know the real reason why we celebrate Easter.
The opening segment is a time to introduce the theme. Discuss Easter and have the children talk about what comes to mind when they think about Easter. At the conclusion of the discussion re- emphasize that today's lesson will be about what Easter really is.
Children often exhibit behaviour that is a direct result of their circumstances. Sometimes when a child is acting up, it is because something is bothering them. When a child is taken aside it can be a wonderful opportunity to minister to that child's needs. Use this time to allow the child to express his/her feelings. Present the gospel and pray with them if possible.
Prayer is vital in our relationship with Christ. This is how we talk to Him. Teach the children that Jesus is a friend that they can talk to anytime using regular language. This is particularly important in the Easter program since the children will be given the opportunity to pray and accept Jesus into their hearts and lives.
There are many appropriate songs that could be used specifically to suit the Easter theme. One that comes to mind is a simple chorus called "God is not Dead". Take the time to explain any new songs to the children.
All of the games in this series have been adapted to suit the theme.
Game #1 - Drop the RockSelect one player from each team. The first player must stand with her/his back to a bucket. The participant must then toss rocks over the shoulder into the bucket. (Do not use real rocks) The object is to see which player can successfully throw the highest number of rocks in the bucket.
Game #2 - Balance the Rock
Select one player from each team. The first contestant must stand on one foot with the other leg extended for one minute. The "rock" must be balanced on the extended foot. The winner of the game is the one who can do it without dropping it or dropping it the least number of times. (This is also adapted from "50 One Minute Games")
The memory verse in this lesson involves a number of activities. It is an interaction between a puppet, a leader and the children.
Leader: Hello everyone. I would like to introduce you to a friend of ours here at "The Zoo". Her name is Dr. Julie Cross. She has a very special job. She is a geologist. Does anyone know what a geologist does?
Puppet: (enters) Hi leader. That's right I am a geologist. That means that I study rocks. It sounds boring doesn't it? Actually it is very interesting. There are many kinds of rocks all over the world and you can learn a lot from them. I brought part of my collection with me. My assistant will show it to you.
Leader: (shows the collection) Very interesting. Those rocks came from all different places where Julie went to study.
Julie: I'm glad that you like my collection. I brought a memory verse with me about rocks.
Leader: There is a verse in the Bible about rocks?
Julie: Here it is (hands out verse)
Leader: Julie this verse has a lot of blanks in it.
Julie: Oh sorry I forgot to give you the rocks. (hands them out)
Leader: Thanks. The words that are missing are written on the back of these rocks. Let's try to sort them out and put them in the right place. (Allow time to put verse together and repeat) "Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord is the Rock eternal" Isaiah 26:4
Julie: Could I get you to repeat that verse again? It is very important. See leader, I told you there are verses about rocks in the Bible.
Leader: That is cool. Why don't you tell us what the verse means?
Julie: I know a lot about verses with rocks in them. This verse is about God. In the first part it says "Trust in the Lord forever...". That means that we are supposed to rely on God always. After that the verse says "for the Lord is the Rock eternal" That means that God is like a rock. God is strong, unmoving and solid. God never changes no matter what happens and that is why we can always trust in Him.
Leader: Amazing verse. God is always the same, so we can trust in Him.
Julie: That's right.
Leader: Thanks for sharing the verse with us.
At this point in the program a video will be shown. It is the Easter story. It will cover the crucifixion and death of Jesus. The video used is called "He is Risen" by Nest Entertainment. Make sure to emphasize why we have Easter. Allow the children to ask questions.
This final segment of the lesson is an interaction between two puppets. They are discussing what occurred after the death of Jesus. One character is a reporter and he is interviewing "The Rock" that was in front of the tomb where Jesus was buried. Reporter: Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I am Alex reporter for the WZOO news. Today I am at a geology expo. Many of you might be wondering what a geology expo is. A geology expo is a huge display of exciting rocks all over the world. This is really neat for me since I have been collecting rocks since I was a boy. Come with me and we will check it out. (He walks around) Look at that crate, it says Jerusalem on it. I wonder what kind of a rock would come from that part of the world. Oh look they are hoisting it out of the crate. (Sound effects)
Rock:(slightly confused) Oh hello there. Who are you?
Reporter: I am Alex. I am a reporter. Do you mind if I interview you?
Rock: No problem
Reporter: Tell me about yourself. I see on your crate that you come from Jerusalem.
Rock: That is right. I had quite a trip to get here.
Reporter: Why did they choose you? Why did the geologists decide to include you in the expo?
Rock: I guess I am a bit famous. Many years ago when I was a very young rock I had a really important job. At first it wasn't too important but one week when I was working everything changed. It seemed like a regular week to me but on Friday things started to get weird.
Friday evening, I was waiting for my boss to come back when all of a sudden the ground started to shake and it got really dark. I was scared. I had no idea what was happening!
Then a while later my boss Joseph and his friend Nicodemus show up. They were carrying a dead guy. ( I started trying to come up with ways to get a new job). Then I heard them say it was a man called Jesus. I had heard of him. He was supposed to be a great teacher. Then Joe and Nick rolled me in front of the tomb where they put Jesus. My task was to stay there and cover the entrance. No trouble I thought.
The next day I got my feelings hurt. These two soldiers showed up and put a rope across me and sealed the opening. As if I couldn't handle the job on my own. The soldiers stayed and watched over the tomb. That Jesus guy must have been pretty important.
The next day was Sunday and it was the weirdest of all. I still can't figure it out. It was very early in the morning when I saw these two women coming towards me and the tomb. The next thing I knew the ground was shaking again, even worse than it did on Friday. I was just about to get upset when the most amazing thing happened. A huge beautiful angel came down and rolled me out of the way and then he sat right on me. I just stayed there too surprised to say anything. By this time the soldiers were really scared. I think they fainted. Then the angel spoke to the women. He told them not to be afraid and then he said that Jesus was not in the tomb."What?" No way. It wasn't possible I was there the whole time. I would have known if he left. Jesus had to be in there.
(Rock changes attitude - awe struck)
Reporter: Absolutely incredible. You were there and you saw the whole thing. Wow I always wanted to know more about the day Jesus rose from the dead. Cool, thanks for the interview. I can hardly wait to get back to the office to share this story.
Personal Testimony and Conclusion
After having run the Zoo program consistently year round for two years we felt quite strongly that it was time to begin to share what the gospel has meant to us personally. Sandra Pattison, the Assistant Zoo Director shared with the children at the conclusion of the program:
"You know, Jesus really is the Son of God and close to 2000 years ago He really did die on a cross. We just heard about that in our story. It was really , really painful. Jesus suffered more that we can imagine. He took the punishment for all our sin. He gave up his life because He loves us so very much. He knew that everyone including you and I needed to be forgiven for all of the wrong things that we do, otherwise we would be separated from God forever. Jesus died but he didn't stay dead. God's awesome power made Jesus alive again. He's still alive today - He lives in heaven and He has the power to forgive us and make us new inside.
You know what? Jesus wants so much for us to come to Him, to talk to Him. He really does hear us when we pray. I want to tell you something about when I was a kid. When I was about 10 years old, someone told me that Jesus loved me and He died and rose again so that He would have the power to forgive me for all of the wrong things that I had done. But Jesus won't come into your life and forgive you unless you ask Him to. I knew that I needed Jesus. So way back when I was a kid, I prayed and asked Jesus to come into my life and forgive me. And you know what? He did! He changed me inside and He is still in my life today. Inviting Him into my life was the most important decision I ever made. I can understand why the Bible says that Jesus is like a rock - because He is strong and He will never let you down. I would like to ask you if you want Jesus to come into your life and if you do we can talk to Him right now:
Thank you Jesus that you love me.
Dismissal: Quiet seat prizes and treats.
Copyright 1997, Bread of Life Ministries