Welcome to our second week in the Fruit of the Spirit Series that we're doing!
This week is all about Joy as a fruit of the spirit and in our bible story today we're going to hear about a man called Nehemiah.
The bible verse that we're learning and trying to memorize is from Galatians 5:22-23
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
Before we begin our lesson for today though, here are a few songs for us to enjoy singing together.
SUNDAY SCHOOL Worship TIME
Sometimes we think that if we love God, we will never be sad or go through a hard time. It's okay to be sad sometimes. Sadness is a normal emotion for us, and it’s exactly how Nehemiah and the Israelites felt in today’s story! But our joy isn’t rooted in our circumstances. Today we're going to explore how being friends with God can bring us joy and happiness.
Can you think of things that make you happy??
Usually we associate being happy with having everything we want. But joy is a little different! Let’s see how God brought joy to a school in Africa…even when the kids didn’t have everything we might think makes us happy.
After watching that video, here are a few questions to think about...
Which of the things that we said make us happy were in the video?
What were some things the kids experienced that seemed really hard?
How do you think the kids in the orphanage were able to have joy even though they had hard lives?
After watching this video, what do you think the difference is between happiness and joy?
We don’t need to have everything we want to have joy. That’s because joy doesn’t come from what we have. Joy comes from God, and having a friendship with him.
Do you guys want to play a game for a few minutes? Let's play a version of tag. You will need spray bottle/water gun and a box of kleenex.
1 person will be the Tagger (with the spray bottle) and 1 person will be the Joy-Giver (with the kleenex).
When someone is tagged (by being sprayed lightly with water), they have to stand still and pretend to be sad. When the Joy-giver 'unfreezes' them by giving them a kleenex, they can wipe their tears and be joyful and run around again.
What was it like when you were stuck being sad and someone freed you to run and play with joy again?
What was it like to unfreeze people and help them go from sadness to joy?
You were only pretending to be sad and cry in the game, but we’ve all had times in real life when we’ve been sad. It’s a relief when we shake off the sadness and find joy again. Joy frees us from sadness, and when we have joy, we can share it with others so they’re not stuck in sadness, either.
Today we’re learning about Joy and how it is a fruit of the spirit. That means when we’re friends with God, he helps us feel joy and happiness in our hearts. Let’s read in the Bible about some people who got joy from God.
Today we're reading from Nehemian 8:1-3, 10-12
It says that all God’s people gathered together in a place called the Water Gate. All the people were there because they wanted to learn about God. So they asked a church leader named Ezra to bring out a Bible. The people knew the Bible was the most special book ever and that they could learn about God from the Bible. All the men and women and children who were old enough to understand were there.
That’s like us right? We're old enough to learn about God!
So Ezra brought out the Bible. The people were so happy to learn about God from the Bible! And their leader, Nehemiah, told them to celebrate about all they’d learned and about God’s love for them.
In verse 10 it says "Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy the good food and sweet drinks. Give some food and drinks to those who didn’t prepare any food. Today is a special day to our Lord. Don’t be sad, because the joy of the Lord will make you strong.”
So Nehemiah told the people to have a big party with food and drinks and gifts. He reminded them that “the joy of the Lord is your strength!” That means God brings us joy, and joy helps us do hard things!
God loves when his friends have joy. God is the one who gives us joy and happiness! God was happy that his friends in the Bible had a celebration, and he’s happy for us to have a celebration, too.
Let's think of a few things that God has given us that bring us joy...
For example, one amazing thing about God is that he made the WHOLE world, and maybe it brings you joy to think of how God made you exactly how he did. Or maybe it brings you joy to think how amazing it is to be loved by God and that knowing he loves you, no matter what, brings you joy.
Gather some straws, 2 per child.
Prepare straws (1 per child) by cutting in a spiral pattern from one end of each straw towards the other, leaving about about an inch of uncut straw at the top for kids to blow through.
We use straws to help us drink water, juice, or even milkshakes. But today we're going to do something different with straws. Let’s blow through them!
Give each child a regular, uncut straw and encourage kids to take a deep breath and then blow through the straw.
Now let’s blow through straws again. But this time you’ll blow through a special straw, like this.
Show kids one of the pre-cut straws. Stretch out the straw so they can see the spiral cut. Give each child a pre-cut straw, and show them how to blow into the uncut end. Encourage them to take a deep breath, blow through the straws as hard as they can, and watch what happens to the straws. They’ll wobble and wiggle back and forth.
Laugh with kids and encourage them as they make their straws wiggle and move for several minutes.
So We blew through two different straws. How was blowing through the second straw different from blowing through the first one?
The second straws were funny right?! Were you surprised when they wiggled? It’s like our breath filled the straws with joy and made them dance around and have lots of fun. Like we put wiggles in the straws, God puts joy, happiness, and laughter into us when we’re friends with him!
When God’s friends got together to learn more about God, they celebrated. When good things happen, it’s easy to feel joy, but sometimes sad things happen and we don’t feel very joyful.
If you feel sad, you can remember that Jesus has put joy in your heart that never goes away. Because we know how much God loves us, we can have joy even when our hearts are sad. Listen to this..
Psalm 47:1 "Everyone, clap your hands. Shout with joy to God!"
That reminds me of a fun song about joy. Do you guys know this song?
Well, I hope that you had a good time today learning about joy and how when we're friends with God he helps us to be joyful even if sometimes are circumstances should mean that we're sad.
There are so many things we can be joyful about. And God brings us all that joy! I feel joy today that you came and read this page today and I hope that you will come back again so that we learn more!
CRAFT / COLOURING
Today we're going to make celebration cups.
1. Attach ribbons to the bottom and sides of one of the cups so the ribbons hang down past the top of the cup when it’s turned upside down.
2. After kids finish gluing about 20 ribbons to the cup, show them how to add a bit mre glue to the bottom of the cup and then stack the second cup over the ribbon cup to seal the ribbons inside the pompom.
3. Give each child a second set of cups, and have kids repeat the process to create a second pompom.
4. Attach a string or more ribbon with tape to the the bottom of each cup for the kids to hold onto.
As we wrap up our time today we want to pray for us this week.
Thank you that you have given us many things in our lives to be joyful about. Please help us to remember that being joyful doesn't just mean being happy when we are able to enjoy the good things that we have around us. Knowing you means that we can choose to be joyful even when we find ourselves in difficult or sad situations. Thank you for always being with us and please help to show us where the joy can be found, in you.