Messy Church: Lent & Light

Theme:  I am the Light of the world
KEY VERSE:  John 8:12 –  “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Other verses for the stations:
Genesis 1:3 “Let there be light”
Isaiah 9:2 “The people walking around in darkness have seen a great light”
Acts 9:1-6
Psalm 119:105
1 Samuel 17:45-47
1 John 1:5-7
Matthew 5:16

Welcome (Chapel):  Introduction of Lent & Light…  5 Minutes.
Introduction and Welcome to Church today!
Today we are going to explore the Light of God through a “Messy Church” experience.
Some of you might not be all that comfortable with the notion of not being in this chapel for the entire service today, but let me reassure you that this will be an entire family teaching time today.  Grandparents and parents, aunts and uncles, you will all be working side by side with your children and grandchildren and adopted children of this corps to learn more about Christ and His light.  This week also begins what the Church call the Lenten season.  This season is all about reflecting and preparing Christians around the world for what Jesus did at the cross and at the tomb in resurrection.  So, with that thought in mind today, we are going to explore the very important topic of light in our messy church service today .  For those of you who are extremely worried about getting messy, don’t worry – you won’t have to, but I would ask that you all participate in some way as we go from station to station today.
Table #1 Light Bulb Cards:  (5 Mins)
Need:  Pencils/Crayons/Scissors
Make Lightbulb shaped cardstock papers by drawing a light bulb, coloring it and then cutting it out.
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Read:  “The people walking around in darkness have seen a great light”…Isaiah 9:2

Discuss: Talk about different kinds of light and light sources…make a list of them.
-Which kind of light is your favorite?  Why?
-Have you ever had a time when you had to walk in the dark?  Talk about that experience.
Say:  Lightbulbs and electricity help us in our homes to see at night.  Before lightbulbs they used candles and oil-filled lanterns.

Ask:  Have you ever experienced a time when the power went out and everything went dark?
What do you do when something like that happens?  What kinds of tools do you use?
How did you feel when the power was restored and you have light again?

Close by saying:
God’s great light can shine into the darkest of places in our world.   He can light up the darkest night.  Tonight, when you go to bed, thank God for his great light that shines in our hearts because he loves us!

Table #2 Stained Glass Windows (5 Mins)
Card Stock Rectangles Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting and table
Pre-cut moons, stars, crosses, fish, candles
multi -Colored tissue paper
Create stained glass by gluing two shapes then placing tissue paper behind the shapes.
Blend colors using multi-colored strips of tissue paper.
(show a picture of a stained glass window)

Talk about the way Light transforms stained glass.
What colors are visible in the stained glass?
Look at this picture of the stained glass, can you see different shapes and symbols in it?
What do you see?
Stained glass like this are used to tell stories.  It is much more than just decorations in a church.
These windows convey to use bible stories that we know and help to remind us of God’s light shining down upon us.

Read:  Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers.[a] So he went to the high priest. He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains.

As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”

“Who are you, lord?” Saul asked.

And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”  Acts 9: 1-6

Ask:  How did Jesus get Saul’s attention?
(God’s light shone from heaven).
Saul was blinded for a short time because of this light from heaven, but after this experience, he changed his name to Paul and began to preach and teach about Jesus to everyone he met.  God’s light shines upon all of us just like this stained glass.  He wants us to live for him and to reflect that light in all that we say and do.

Ask as you close:  How can we shine for Him this week?

Table #3 A Lamp Unto My Feet (5mins)
Card stock pages with slices in themImage may contain: 1 person, indoor
a Scripture passage on a strip of paper
A Paper handle strip

Read:  “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light unto my path.”  Psalm 119:105

Talk about:  God’s word will direct our lives if we are willing to listen to Him.
He wants to help us make wise decisions in life.
Ask:  Have you ever walked around the darkness and tripped over things?  How did that experience make you feel?  Were you afraid?  Did you hurt yourself?
What happens when you turn the light on in a dark room?  You can see right?
What once was dark is now light.
Ask: Why do you think parents have rules for kids when they are growing up?
What happens when those kids break the rules?
What happens when adults break the law?
There are consequences to breaking the law or the rules right?
But those laws or rules are there to protect us right?
In the same way, God’s word is there to protect us and to keep us safe.
He wants us to follow it so that we don’t wander around in the darkness.

Hold Up Your lamps:  And read the scripture passage on the handle together:
“Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light unto my path.”

Table #4 Make Paper Hats (5 mins)

Need:  Card Stock & Glitter, Makers, Crayons, Tape.
We are going to make party hats.
We all know the Story of David and Goliath, but did you know David had the light of God inside him?  He was brave and he had faith that God would help him defeat this giant!  The Giant had huge weapons and a was very fearsome and frightening to all of the Israelite soldiers including the king.  But David had faith in God and he said to Goliath:

Read:  …“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:45-47

Ask:  How did David win the battle?
Did he do it with his own strength?
How important is it to trust in God?

Do you know people who seem to have God’s light inside of them?
Do they seem to be bright and cheery people who have peace even when they face their own giant problems?  How can we become like David and have courage and the light of God in us?
Put on your party hats…each one looks amazing and colorful…and bright!  You can shine for God in your life too if you have faith and know that He is with you in every situation especially those that involve giant problems and worries.

Table #5 Star Cookies (5 mins)
Need:  Yellow Frosting, Sprinkles,
Families will frost their cookies and sprinkle them.
img_2816
Talk
about how stars give off light in the night sky.
How far away are stars?  Hint: millions of miles.
Our nearest star is 4.24 light years away.

Read:  Genesis 1:2-4
God gave us light in the darkness:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.

God spoke creation into being, and he gave us light so that we can see.
Light also gives us life.
Ask:  Can plants grow without sun light?
Talk About:
The Sun in our galaxy is a giant star.  It is a great big ball of fire made up of gas.
If you even go near it we would not live for very long, but God placed this star and our planet at just right location in order for all of us to live.  If the sun had been placed any further away, our planet would freeze.  If the sun was too close Earth would be way too hot to live on.  God knew exactly how to create light and darkness ( and the rest of creation for that matter) in order that we might live and love Him.

Table #6  Walking In Light or Darkness?  (5 mins)
Need:  Little water bottles , plastic cups, baby oil, washable markers (for color) sparkles. Image may contain: drink and indoor
Pour the water into the plastic cup.
Grab a washable marker and dab it into the water until the water changes color. (only 1 per cup)
Pour water back into the bottle about half way, then fill the rest with a little bit of baby oil.
Close the lid and then shake it up.

Read:  “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
1 John 1:5-7

Talk:  Before Christ came to the earth, the people in ancient times have to make lots of sacrifices so that they could remove the darkness of sin from their lives.  When Jesus came, he died on the cross for our sins and become the ultimate sacrifice so that sacrifices were no longer needed – Christ’s was enough for everyone in the whole wide world!  Think about that: God’s one and only son, bringing his perfect light into a dark world.  Look at the dark section of your bottles –  When we choose to follow Jesus, we stop living in the darkness of sin and we begin to walk in the light of His love.  When we do this we can shine so that others might see Jesus too.

Table #7 This Little Light of Mine  (5 mins)       
Need:  2 Flashlights.  One with batteries and one without.  Put wads of paper and coins and whatever else in the second flashlight.
Begin by Singing:  “This Little Light of Mine”
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Read:In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” –Matthew 5:16

Take turns reading the verse together. I like to read the verse normally, then read it super-fast and super-slow. Sometimes we read our verses “underwater” meaning I rub my fingers up and down over my lips while I speak to make the underwater sound. After you read the verse together, have kids sit quietly and answer a few questions.

Say, “What do you think it means, ‘Let your light shine before men…” Encourage kids to answer, let them know there’s wrong answer. After they have shared what they think, bring out the flashlight that doesn’t work. Don’t tell them it doesn’t work. Flip the switch on and try to shine a light. Say, “Wow! This isn’t working.” Shake the flashlight. “I think I hear batteries in there. Should we check it?”

Open the battery and show kids the junk that’s in the flashlight. Say, “Wow! These aren’t batteries. No wonder it’s not working. You know, we are kind of like these flashlights. When we have junk in us, we don’t shine our light. Now let’s see what happens we do have a flashlight that shines correctly.” Flip on the working flashlight and turn off the lights to show how bright it is.

(Object Lesson Source: http://ministry-to-children.com/shine-a-light-object-lesson-for-sunday-school-matthew-516/)

 

Total Table Time:  40 minutes

The Wrap Up Back In The Chapel –   15 minutes

Sing:  Marvelous Light
Here I am to Worship

Devotional:
Today we explore what topic in Messy Church?
That’s right the topic of light.  More importantly Jesus said:
John 8:12 –  “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
In all of our stations today we have explored all kinds of ways that we can share that light with outs and how we can shine as well…right?  Jesus told this to many people, and he wants us to follow him as well.  He wasn’t just any light…like a light bulb that can be replaced when it burns out – NO!  He is THE light of the world.  In fact it says in Revelation 22:5 about heaven that “there will be no night there–no need for lamps or sun–for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.”  Imagine that!  God’s light will never go out, never become dim, or ever, ever be extinguished.
Jesus came to this earth and told everyone he was the light of the world and that they should follow Him…I have good news today for you!  He still is the light of the world and when we choose to follow Him, we have this light inside of us and it shines too.

Now, perhaps this is the first time you are hearing about Jesus in this way.
And maybe you would like to receive this light for the very first time.
Jesus came to this earth to die for our sins and when we accept this sacrifice, we become His people.  We become Christ-followers, and he said that one day we would all be with him in eternity or heaven.  But do you know what we have to do?  We have to accept this gift of eternal life.  The light Christ offers will last for eternity, and with that light comes love, peace and hope.  Would you like to accept this light today in your lives?  If so, I would like to pray this prayer with you and if you would like to accept Jesus for the first time, or maybe just reaccept Him, would you pray this prayer with me?

“Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I have walked in the darkness for far too long.   I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will.  I pray that you help me to be Your light in this world.
In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

 

*This lesson plan was adapted from the book: “Messy Church: fresh ideas for building a Christ-centered community.“*

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