CHILDREN’S CORNER You are welcome!
Jesus, the Good Shepherd
Can you think of a time when someone you know gave up something important to help you? Perhaps a teacher gave up their time to help you with your work at school or perhaps you were unwell and your parents either stayed at home with you, or stayed up all night to care for you.
When we give up something important to us to help others, we make a sacrifice. Can you think of a time when you made a sacrifice to help a friend, a brother or sister or your mum and dad?
In today’s gospel story, Jesus taught about this kind of sacrifice. He used the example of the relationship between a good shepherd and his sheep to help the disciples to understand how much he loves and cares for his followers; and he explained that he is the good shepherd who is even willing to give up his life to protect the sheep from harm.
Jesus said to them, ‘I am the good shepherd and I know my sheep very well. My sheep also know me and hear my voice when I call them. I lay down my life for my sheep by standing between them and the wolf so that they are safe. I have some other sheep that you have not met yet. I must call them and they will listen to my voice, too. Then there will be one flock, with one shepherd.
In this story, Jesus is really saying that he loves us and he would die for us, not because he had to, but because he wanted to do it. John 10.11-18.
Thank you for loving us. Help us to love and care for others as you love and care for us. Amen.
CHILDREN’S BIBLE STORY (Based on Luke 24.36-48)
Jesus helps his disciples to understand his resurrection
Cleopas was telling the eleven disciples and their friends about the traveller who talked to him on the road to Emmaus and when Jesus appeared in the room with them. Jesus said: 'Peace be with you!' They were very frightened. They thought that he was a ghost. But Jesus said to them, 'Why are you so afraid? Look at the scars on my hands and my feet. It's me, Jesus! Touch me and see. A ghost wouldn't have flesh and bones.' He showed them his hands and feet. Of course, it was Jesus and they were both amazed and confused.
While they were still wondering how he could be alive, Jesus asked, 'Do you have anything to eat?' They gave him a piece of cooked fish and watched as he ate it. After he had eaten, Jesus said to them, 'These are the things that I was telling you about when we were together: how everything written about me in the Bible would come true.' Then Jesus explained everything to them and helped them to understand.
He said to them, 'It is written in the Scriptures that the Messiah will die but after three days he will rise from the dead. And the good news, which is forgiveness of sins for those who repent, will be announced in his name to everyone starting from right here in Jerusalem.' Jesus went on to tell them that they are seeing everything happening for themselves.
Jesus wanted his disciples to understand what he was saying to them. Why is this?
Why do you think that the disciples were afraid?
What do you think Jesus explained again to them and told them to touch him?
We want to know more about you and the Good News of your love and forgiveness. We pray that you will open our minds and help us to understand what we read in the Bible. Amen.
CHILDREN’S CORNER: Bible Story – The Unexpected Surprise!
Today is a very special day. It is Easter Day. Do you know what makes Easter day special? Read the story to find out!
Mary was sad. Jesus had died on the cross and buried in a tomb. So early in the morning, when it was dark, Mary went to the tomb. She was shocked when she got there and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance to it, and Jesus was gone. Mary was so frightened; she ran to tell Peter and John what she saw. By the time she reached them, she was out of breath and upset.
She said, 'They've taken Jesus! I went to the tomb, but the stone's been moved from the entrance and the Lord's gone!’ Peter and John went running to the tomb, but John got there first and saw the cloth that Jesus' body had been wrapped in. It was left inside the tomb. Peter rushed past John straight into the tomb. He saw the wrappings but noticed that the cloth that had been on Jesus' head was rolled up and placed on its own. John came in and saw it too. They were very puzzled by the empty tomb and went home. Mary, who had followed them, was too sad to go home. She stayed there, crying. She peeped into the tomb and saw two angels sitting where Jesus had been lying. They asked her why she was crying, and she told them that the body of Jesus was missing, and she didn’t know where it was.
Then she turned around and saw a man standing there. He asked her why she was crying and who she was looking for. He was Jesus, but Mary did not know this at the time. She thought he was the gardener, so she said to him, 'If you’ve taken Jesus away, please tell me where he is’. The man replied by calling her by her name: ‘Mary’, he said, and with that single word, Mary knew that the man was Jesus. She was happy again.
Jesus said to her. 'Don't
hold onto me, Mary, ‘Go and tell my disciples that I'm going up to my Father,
to my God and your God’. So, Mary went running off again - this time to tell
the disciples the good news: that she had seen the Lord.
To Think About
Easter is a time of hope. This is like planting a seed and waiting for it to grow – in other words, you hope or trust that the seed will grow into a plant. You will need to care for the seed by watering it to help it to grow. The same goes for our hopes. We must hold on to them, talk to others about them and pray to God to help us. So, what are you hoping for this Easter?
The Story of Palm Sunday
and his disciples were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near
the Mount of Olives. They were almost near enough to hear the noise of the
pilgrim crowds in the city. Jesus sent two of his disciples on ahead, and they
went with his surprising words echoing in their minds - 'Go into the next
village, and as soon as you enter it, you will find a colt tied up that has
never been ridden. Untie it and bring it to me. If anyone asks you what you are
doing, just say, "The Lord needs it and will send it back here
So they went off and found a colt in the street, tied up near a door. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, 'What are you doing, untying the colt?' They told them what Jesus had said, and they allowed them to take it. Then the disciples brought the colt to Jesus and he sat on it.
There was a crowd of people and many of them spread their cloaks out on the road in front of Jesus while others laid down leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And these pilgrims sang their ancient song: 'Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!' In these words, they heard the cries of the prophets of old.
Then Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple. He looked around at everything and as it was late. he went to spend the night at Bethany with his twelve disciples. Mark 11-1-11
To Think About
The people sang ‘Hosanna’ to Jesus. This is a Hebrew word. It is usually used to mean ‘Praise’ but it also means ‘Save us please!’
Bible story adapted from Exodus, chapters 1 & 2 - Moses,
Miriam and the Princess
Then they had an idea. Miriam and her mother wove a basket together out of reeds. The basket became like a little boat. Then they took the baby and wrapped him in soft blankets and put him into the basket. Miriam and her mother took the basket down to the river and gently placed it in the water. "Watch him, Miriam," the mother said. They wanted to keep him safe but the best way to look after him was to let him go.
God had heard the prayers of the baby's family. He had very special plans for that boy. Miriam hid in the tall reeds and watched as the basket floated down the river. Then one of the pharaoh's daughters, a princess, came for a swim just at that moment. The princess stood in the water, laughing with her servants. The sun was shining and the birds seemed to laugh with her as she splashed one of her maids.
Suddenly, one of the servants saw the basket. "Princess, come look what the river has brought us," she called. They carried the basket up to the shore and laid it on the sand. There, inside the basket, was a beautiful baby boy. He had kicked off his blanket and was crying. "He must be a Hebrew boy," the princess said. She named him Moses, which means ‘pulled out of the water’ or ‘saved’. She knew that her father didn’t like the Hebrews but that made this baby boy all the more precious to her. "He's hungry,” she said, “Is there anything we can give him?”
Miriam had been watching and praying. She wanted the princess to save her little brother. Now she ran up to the princess, and thinking of her mother, she said, "I know a Hebrew woman who could feed him. Do you want me to get her?" "Yes, said the princess, “And when he's old enough to eat on his own, you can bring him back to me." So Moses went back to his family. They thanked God for answering their prayers and they loved and cared for him. When Moses was about three years old, his family took him back to the princess. She smiled at him and said, "This boy will be my very own son."
To think about
· On this Mother’s Day, what do you think is so special about Moses’ real Mother?
· What are the special things that mothers do for us?
A Bible Story adapted from Genesis, chapters 6-9.
THE STORY OF NOAH’S ARK
ADAPTED FROM THE BIBLE - GENESIS CHAPTERS 6-9.
God looked down at his people and was very disappointed. The people on his earth were cruel and bad. All except one man whose name was Noah. God decided to send a flood to wash away all the bad people but not Noah and his family. God told Noah to build a big boat so that he and his family would be saved from the flood.
God also gave Noah a very important job. He asked Noah to bring two of all living creatures, male and female, into the ark to keep them alive. Noah searched everywhere to find two of every kind of animals on the earth and, two by two, they went into the ark.
It rained for forty days and forty nights and Noah, his family and all of the animals stayed on the ark as the rain poured down. Finally, when the rain stopped, Noah sent a dove to search for dry land. The dove couldn’t find any dry land so it flew around for a while. Noah sent it out again and it came back to Noah with an olive twig in its beak. The twig meant the trees were in bud on dry land. Noah waited a week before he sent the dove out again but this time it did not return to him. The flood was over!
Then God told Noah that he and his family and all the animals could leave the ark. They came out of the ark and Noah immediately built an altar and thanked God for keeping them safe. When God saw this, he said to Noah, "I promise I will never again send such a flood. And each time it rains, I'll send a rainbow to remind everyone of my promise to you."
To Think About
· Why did God flood the earth?
· What should we do to be like Noah?
· Why do you think God saved Noah and his family?
Thank you for the rainbow with its beautiful colours to remind us of God’s promise never to flood the earth again. Thank you for loving us and sending Jesus to save us. Help us to make the world a better place for everyone, especially those who are suffering and need our help. Amen.
CHILDREN’S CORNER: A Bible Story from Mark, chapter 8, verses 31-38
Jesus taught his disciples many things. He knew that he had to prepare them for what was going to happen to him, so one day he told them that he was going to die but that he would rise again after three days. One of his disciples, called Peter, became quite upset. He could not believe what he was hearing and told Jesus so. But Jesus told him that this was going to happen
Jesus loved Peter very much and Peter loved Jesus too. Some of the things that Jesus was teaching him were extremely hard for him to hear but Jesus wanted him and the other disciples to know about them.
A crowd was gathering around them and Jesus told the disciples and the crowd that following him would sometimes be hard to do and that they would have to make difficult choices. Jesus ended by telling them that they must not be ashamed of knowing and loving him and that he will always love them.
Why do you think it was so hard for Peter to hear what Jesus was saying to him?
If your best friend started telling you things about themselves that you found hard to listen to, what would you do?
The day when Jesus died is called ‘Good Friday’ because that is the day when he died to save all of us. It says that he rose again on the third day – so starting with Good Friday, what do we celebrate on the 3rd day?
Let us Pray
Lord Jesus, we thank you for coming to save us. Help us to follow you, even when we find it hard to do. Amen.
A Bible Story from Mark Chapter 9, verses 9-15.
John the Baptist was Jesus' cousin. He baptised people in the River Jordan. He told them that someone else was coming. Someone who was more powerful than he was who was going to baptise them with the Holy Spirit, not just with water.
Then one day, the people saw him for themselves. It was Jesus and he came to John to be baptized in the River along with them. John baptised him and as he came up out of the water, they saw what looked like a dove coming down to rest on him; and a voice said, ‘This is my Son whom I know and love. I am very pleased with him.’
Immediately after his baptism Jesus went out into the desert where he was tested. He knew he could trust God who loved him and would take care of him. Although he was alone in the desert, Jesus refused to do any of the things he was being tempted to do, and God sent angels to help him.
Jesus was now ready to begin his work caring for people, healing them and letting them know that he loved them. He told them that they should trust God and believe in him because God loved them very much. Of course, God loves us very much as well. (Mark 1.9-15)
To think about:
God speaks to us in different ways. Here God speaks to Jesus, his Son, whom he loves very much. God loves us and wants the best for us.
What would you do if you are tempted to do something that is wrong, like helping yourself to the chocolates or biscuits, if no one else is looking? What do you think Jesus would want you to do?
Let us pray:
Lord Jesus, we thank you for loving us and caring for us. Help us to follow Jesus’ example and when tempted, to turn away and to do the right thing. Amen
A Bible story from Mark 9.2-9
Jesus, Peter, James and John went up a high mountain. Up and up they climbed until they reached the top. The disciples were tired and fell asleep. But when they woke up, they saw that right before their very eyes, Jesus was changed. He looked brighter than the sun. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than the whitest they had ever seen.
The disciples were amazed! And as they watched, two other people appeared and started talking to Jesus. One was the prophet Elijah, and the other was Moses, the great leader of the Israelites. The disciples were terrified! They didn't know what to do or what to say! Suddenly, Peter said 'Let's build shelters! Let's build three shelters, right here! One for Moses, one for Elijah and one for Jesus.'
And as they stood watching Jesus, Elijah and Moses, a cloud covered them. And they heard a voice from the cloud saying to them: 'This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.' Suddenly, Elijah and Moses disappeared, leaving only Jesus. The disciples were confused. But they knew they had seen something amazing and special. So they all went back down the mountain.
Jesus told them not to tell anyone what they had seen. Not until after he had risen from the dead. Peter, James and John were very puzzled, but they kept the secret anyway. Mark 9.2-9
To think about:
God speaks to us in many different ways. Who did God speak with, and what did he say to them? How good are you at listening to God?
Let us pray:
Lord Jesus, you make ordinary things special, and you surprise us when we do not expect it. Surprise us with your amazing love and forgiveness as we begin Lent this week. AmenCHILDREN’S CORNER: Who is Jesus?
story from John 1.14 and Mark 8.27-30.
When people heard the stories about Jesus, they couldn't believe that he was just an ordinary man. They thought he was a prophet, like their Old Testament heroes.
Arriving in a place called Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say I am?' And they had a list of people who were no longer alive. They said: 'Some say Elijah, or Jeremiah, or another of the prophets.' And ‘some say you are John the Baptist.'
Jesus asked them, 'But who do you say that I am?' And Simon Peter, one of his disciples said: 'You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.' (The Messiah was someone that the Jews had been waiting for - someone chosen by God to save them from their enemies).
Jesus said to him: 'You are blessed, Simon, because God, my Father in heaven, has given you this answer.’ So, who is Jesus?
Jesus was special. The MOST special person there ever was or ever will be. Do you know what made him so very extra special? Well, John’s Gospel in the Bible, gives us a clue.
It says in chapter 1, verse 14 that “the Word became flesh and lived among us.” Who do you think is the Word that became flesh? ‘The Word’ is God’s word in the Bible’. It is all the truths about God and his promises to us; but the ‘flesh’ is that word in human form.
So, who do you think this is? It is Jesus! Of course! Jesus is the living, breathing, walking, talking, laughing, crying, Son of God. He is all of God’s promises and love sent to earth just for us to let us know that God loves us and will forgives us when we do anything that is wrong. Jesus really is the MOST special person to ever be. He is 100% human, just like us, and 100% divine, just like God.
To Think About: Who do you think Jesus is?
Let us pray: Lord, we thank you for showing us who you are. We thank you for loving and caring for us. Help us to share what we have with others, and to tell them about your love for them. Amen
CHILDREN’S CORNER BIBLE
STORY ADAPTED FROM MARK 1.21-28
Jesus teaches with authority.
On the seventh day of the week, Jesus went straight to the synagogue and started teaching about God. People were amazed at what Jesus said. Unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority. They listened carefully because they wanted to know more about what he was saying.
Suddenly a man in the synagogue shouted out angrily at Jesus. He asked: 'What do you want of us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are. You are the Holy One of God!'
The crowd was shocked. Jesus could
see that it was really an unclean spirit in the man, and he did not hesitate.
Straight away Jesus commanded the unclean spirit to leave the man. He said: 'Be quiet and get out of him’ and the man fell to the floor, shaking and sobbing. Then a huge cry came out of him, and the unclean spirit was gone.
The man was free again. Everybody
was amazed! They turned to each other excitedly and said, 'What is this? He
teaches us in a new way, with authority. He even has power over unclean
spirits.' And from that moment on, the people spread the news of Jesus’ power
all over Galilee.
To Think about
Jesus is presenting himself from the start as someone who will be different and will make a difference. Both Jesus’ teaching and his actions reveal that he is the ‘Holy One of God’, and everyone begins to talk about him.
When Jesus spoke, people knew everything he said was true. They were amazed because they saw that it was very different teaching. Thank you, God, for Jesus and what he said and did to give us hope and meet our needs. Amen.
CHILDREN’S CORNER: Bible Story taken from John 1.43-51
Jesus calls Philip to follow him and Philip calls Nathanael to come and see Jesus
Jesus set off for Galilee and when he arrived there, he found Philip. Jesus walked towards him. 'Philip,' Jesus said, 'Follow me.' Then Jesus walked a little further.
Philip was surprised at the sudden meeting, so he ran to find Nathanael. Excitedly he said, 'I have found him! I have found Jesus, the Messiah, the son of joseph from Nazareth!'
just laughed out loud. 'What? From Nazareth? You are joking! Nothing good comes
from Nazareth!' Philip looked shocked. 'Of course it can! It is him. Jesus!'
But Nathanael just laughed. Philip was disappointed with Nathanael's reaction
and decided that there was only one way to change his mind. 'Come and see,' he
said. Reluctantly, Nathanael agreed, and off they went.
they walked towards Jesus, he saw them first. 'Look here is a good and honest
man,' Jesus said, pointing to Nathanael. Nathanael was astonished. Jesus seemed
to know him already. 'How do you know me?' Nathanael asked. Jesus smiled and
told him, "I saw you sitting under the fig tree.' Nathanael was very puzzled. Jesus continued,
saying, ‘I saw you before Philip found you and called you to "Come and
looked at Jesus. Then he said to Jesus in amazement, 'You are the Son of God!'
Jesus replied, 'Do you believe because I saw you and recognised you under the
fig tree? You will see greater things than this. One day you will see heaven
opened and the Son of Man coming in glory with angels around him.’
To Think About..
Some of us will be like Philip, keen to follow straight away, and some of us will wonder, like Nathanael, 'why would God be interested in me?'. This story shows that wherever we are, Jesus
finds us and knows us. Are you more like Philip or Nathanael, or somewhere in between?
Lord, we are sorry when we do or say things that turn others away from you. Help us to be like Philip and invite our friends to come and find out more about you. Amen.
CHILDREN’S CORNER: Bible Story on when Jesus was baptized.
the Baptist appeared in the wilderness. He was a strange-looking man, clothed in
a hairy camel skin with a leather belt around his waist. And he ate strange
things: locusts and wild honey. John was announcing a message of forgiveness of
sins if people repented and were baptized. People came from all over to be
baptized by John in the River Jordan. They came from the city of Jerusalem and
from the countryside all around.
John shouted loudly, 'Someone else is coming. Someone more powerful than me. I am not important enough even to untie his shoes!' John said that although he baptized people with water, the one who was coming would be different. He would baptize people with the Holy Spirit.
Then one day he came. Jesus came from Nazareth to the River Jordan, to be baptized by John. And as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were torn apart and a dove came down; the Holy Spirit descended onto Jesus, and a voice came from heaven saying, 'You are my Son. I love you and I am pleased with you.
Baptism means being washed in water as a sign of God’s forgiveness and as a fresh start. John the Baptist was preparing people to meet Jesus. He told them to ask God for forgiveness and change their behaviour. When Jesus came to him to be baptized, it marked a new beginning and a change from the old ways to a new start for the whole world. John knew that by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus would do much greater things. The Dove represents the Holy Spirit.
God of new beginnings, we thank you for Jesus who wants us to follow him to new beginnings. Please give us the courage to follow him and to face each new challenge and difficulty. Amen.
Wise men from the East Visit Jesus: Bible reading from Matthew 2.1-12
Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem when Herod was king in Jerusalem. One day, wise men from eastern lands came to speak to Herod, asking ‘Where is the newborn King of the Jews? We have followed the Birth Star all the way here. We have come to worship him.’ Herod was frightened when he heard this and so was everyone else in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of all the wise and religious scholars to find out where this Messiah was to be born. ‘The prophet Micah wrote that it was to be Bethlehem,’ they told him. Herod met again with the wise men, in secret. He found out more about their learning and in turn told them to go and search for the newborn King in Bethlehem. Herod also asked the wise men to come back to him and tell him exactly where the baby was to be found, ‘So that I too may worship him.’ So, the wise men set off again, following the same star, and it led them to Bethlehem, right to the Christ child. When they entered the place where the child and his mother Mary were, their hearts were overwhelmed with joy. The wise men knelt down before him and worshipped him. Then they offered their precious gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But when it was time for them to leave, the wise men went home by a different route, because God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.
What do you think the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh mean?
(The answers are on the last page of the bulletin).
The following words can be sung to ‘The wheels of the bus’
Welcome to church this year, church this year, church this year.
Welcome to church this year, we’re glad to have you here.
Lord Jesus, we thank you that you came to bring new hope, life, and love to us. Help us to show your love and light to others. Amen.
Children’s Corner: Bible Story adapted from Luke 1.26-38
Mary was a young teenage girl, who was preparing to be married to Joseph. One day an angel appeared to her.
Greeting her he said, ‘You are chosen by the Lord, and the Lord is with you!’ This angel was sent by God to give Mary this good news. But she was taken by surprise and wondered why he appeared to her like this and what he meant! The angel said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is pleased with you. You will have a Son and you must call him Jesus.’
Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be?’ The angel replied to her saying, ‘By the power of God in the Holy Spirit. Your child will be very special. He will be called the Son of God. Your cousin is old, but she is also going to have a baby. Nothing is impossible with God. Then Mary said, ‘I will be God’s servant. I will do what God wants me to do.’ Then the angel left her.
Questions to think about
· How do you think Mary felt when she saw the angel Gabriel?
· What do you think it means to be God’s servant?
Please help us to have the courage of Mary and to be obedient to you. Thank you for sending Jesus to teach us to love and to forgive others, as you love and forgive us. We ask you to bless us this Christmas and always. Amen.
December 13th: Bible
Story from John 1.6-8,19-28
The priests and Levites come to find out who John the Baptist is, and what he is doing
There was a man sent from God and his name was John. It was his job to tell people about the light that was coming into the world, but he was not the light.
The Jews heard about him and sent some important men from Jerusalem to speak to John. They were priests and Levites from the Temple. They asked John, ‘Who are you?’
John replied. ‘I am not the Messiah,’ so they began to guess who he might be. They asked: ‘Are you Elijah then?’ ‘I am not,’ said John. Elijah had been dead a long time before. Then they asked, ‘Are you the prophet?’ ‘No,’ said John.
The priests, and the Levites who helped them in the temple, began to get annoyed with John because they had come all the way from Jerusalem to the river Jordan and he would not tell them who he was. They said to him, ‘We need something to tell the people who sent us. Who are you?’ But John quoted something to them from a special book in the Bible called Isaiah. He said: ‘I am the voice of the person crying out in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of the Lord”.’
The priests and Levites, who were sent by some powerful people called the Pharisees, said to him: ‘If you are not the Messiah, or a prophet, or Elijah, the prophet who passed on God’s messages to the people, why then are you baptizing people?’ John said to them, ‘I baptize with water but someone else is coming. I am not important enough even to unlace his sandals. He is already standing among you, but you do not know him.’
Some questions to think about
• Why do you think that John want the priests and Levites to focus on Jesus and not on him?
• What can we do to help other people to find out about Jesus?
Let us pray
Thank you, God, for sending messengers, like John the Baptist, with the good news of Jesus’ love and forgiveness when we think or do things that are wrong. Help us to pass on this message to others. Amen.
Please look out for the activities and the colouring sheets that are sent out with this Bulletin
Making a Christingle and the Bible story from Mark 1.1-8
The four weeks between the end of November and Christmas day is called Advent, which means ‘coming.’ It is a time when prepare for the coming of Jesus, by asking God to forgive us for anything wrong that we have done. We also use try to be better followers of Jesus, by being more loving, caring and sharing with others. When we do these things, we become like John the Baptist in the story and invite others to follow Jesus.
On Sunday, we make Christingles using an orange, red ribbon, fruits, sweets, and candle to tell the story of God’s love for us. The story about John the Baptist was written a long time before he was born, and the person who wrote it was called Isaiah. He wrote:
'See!- I am sending a messenger, to make the path ready for you. He will be a voice crying out in the wilderness, saying, "Prepare the way of the Lord". When the messenger came, it was the beginning of the good news of Jesus, the Son of God.
The messenger started out in the desert, dressed in camel hair with a belt round his waist. His name was John, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He baptized people, telling them that when they said sorry, their sins would be forgiven.
And all the countryside of Judea responded to John. People came pouring out of their homes to the river Jordan. Even people from the big city of Jerusalem came to see him. 'We have sinned,' they said. 'And we're sorry.'
John baptized the people who came, but he told them, 'Somebody more powerful than me is coming. I'm not even important enough to take off his sandals. I have baptized you all with water, but he will come and baptize you with the Holy Spirit.'
Look out for the attachments to this bulletin with activities, including what you will need to make a Christingle.
Nov 29th -Advent Sunday - watching and waiting
The four weeks of Advent starts today, the last Sunday of November and Christmas comes at the end of this time. The word “advent” means “coming.”
Have you ever waited for a long time for something or someone to come? What did that feel like? Now, God’s people had been waiting for a very long time for God to send a Saviour. That Saviour was Jesus, who was born long ago in a stable in Bethlehem. The baby Jesus grew up to save all of God’s people. Yet that is not all of the good news. It was God’s plan to send Jesus to the world twice. He came long ago and he is coming back again.
We are waiting and watching for him to come again as he said he would. While we are waiting, we will light a special purple candle each week to remind us of the people who loved God, and told everyone that Jesus was coming, and that he was the Saviour. We will also light a special pink candle for Mary his Mother, and on Christmas Day, we light a special white candle to celebrate his birth.
Jesus says that we will not know when he will come again, so we must keep watching for him because he will come again. So like those people of Israel a long time ago, we are also waiting for him to come again. He also says that we should be ready for him when he comes. This means that we could use our time to help other people in need, and pray to Jesus to tell him that we are sorry when we do anything wrong, and thank him for what we have been given. So we are keeping watch for Jesus all of the time, not just at Advent time.
Nov 22nd: CHILDREN’S CORNER: Are you a Sheep or a Goat?
Jesus told his followers the story about a shepherd who separated the sheep from the goats to show how God separates kind and generous people from those that are unkind and mean. Jesus said that:
'When the Son of Man comes in glory, the whole world will be gathered before him and he will separate people as a shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. He will say to those on his right, "Come, you are blessed by my Father; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me."
'The sheep will answer, "When did we see you hungry and give you food, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we meet you as a stranger and welcome you, or see you naked and give you clothing? When did we see you sick, or in prison, and visit you?" 'The king will say, "Whatever you did to the least important members of my family, you did it to me."
'Then he will say to those on his left, "Get out, worthless goats! You are good for nothing. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, I was naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me," The goats will answer, "When did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?"
'He will answer, "Because you did not do it to the people in need, you did not do it to me. And the goats will be sent to eternal punishment and the sheep to eternal life.'"
After reading the story, please try to answer these questions:
What do the people described in the story as sheep have in common?
Can you think of anything that someone did for you, which made you feel they cared for you?
Can you think of anyone you could show some kindness to this week?
Now, let us pray
Lord Jesus. Thank you for showing us that we must help others, especially those who are not seen as important. As we depend on you for all of our needs, help us to be the kind of people who others can depend on for help as well. Amen.
CHILDREN’S CORNER – The Parable of the Talents (Matthew
One day, Jesus told his disciples a story to show the importance of preparing for his return by using our time and talents to serve God. He told them that a man was going on a journey, and before he left, he put his three servants in charge of his possessions. He gave each to them according to what they could manage. The first got five talents, the second received two talents and the third received one talent.
The first servant immediately traded his talents and made five more. The second servant quickly put his talents to work and made another two. But the third servant buried his one talent in a hole in the ground.
After a long time, the man came home. He asked his servants what they had done with what he had given to them. The first servant said: “Master, you gave me five talents and I have made five more." The second servant said that he had doubled his talents. The man was happy that these servants did so well to prepare for his return. "Well done, my good and faithful servant," he told each one. "Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share my joy." Then the third servant who buried his talent came forward and said: “Master, I was afraid, so I dug a hole and hid your talent in the ground. Here it is."
The man was not pleased at all. He told him, “you wicked, lazy servant! You could have put your talent in the bank so that when I returned, I would have received it with interest”. “Take the talent from him and give it to the servant who has ten talents”. "For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away." He went on to punish the third servant for his unwise decision, saying, “throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth."
Question: Can you think why the man angry at the third servant?
Answer: Perhaps it is because the third servant was thinking only of himself. He said that he was afraid of his master and tried to play it safe. We must not make excuses to avoid using our talents and skills for God and to help others, and we must not waste what we have been given.
Dear Jesus, Thank you for the talents and skills you have given to me. Please help me to increase them and use them to help others. Amen.
NB: Please look out for the activity and colouring sheets that come with this bulletin.
CHILDREN’S CORNER – Remembrance Sunday
On Remembrance Sunday, we honour those who gave their lives in the world wars. It reminds us to be thankful for what they have done for us, to trust God to help us, to be always hopeful for a brighter future and do what we can to stop war.
Dear Jesus, we thank you for all those who gave their lives that we might have peace. We pray also for those who live in places where there is still so much war. Please watch over them and help them to find freedom from war and suffering. Amen.
November 1st All Saints Sunday - Matthew 5.1-12 - The Beatitudes
Jesus had a wonderful ability to make people listen to him and think about what he was saying. Jesus said things to make people stop and take a really good look at the type of people they were, and what they did and said. He wanted people to understand how God wanted them to behave and taught about the values that are important.
One day, Jesus saw that a large crowd was following him. This was the perfect opportunity to start teaching them about some of the important things that he wanted to say to them. So he began to climb up the side of the mountain, the crowds followed and he sat down and began teaching everyone about true happiness.
Today, we are going to hear what Jesus said in that famous teaching – called 'the sermon on the mount'.
The people noticed he turned everything upside-down. Instead of saying that the tough people would be winners, he said the weak people and ones who depended on God were the real winners. Jesus said many other things including:
that the people who were very sad will find true happiness;
those who are peacemakers are truly the children of God;
and those who want to see the right thing done are very special people. They are the people who take care of others. When people are against you, don’t worry - God will bless you and bring you closer to him.
Jesus ended his teaching by saying: "If anyone hurts you because you believe in me, then be glad. You will surely be rewarded in heaven," This was something the people had never heard before.
Why do you think Jesus taught us to help those who are suffering and in need?
God, thank you for all the millions of people who have loved and served Jesus
in history. We also thank you for all
those who love and serve Jesus today. Help me to grow in faith and
Bible Sunday Story from Nehemiah 8.1-4a (5-6), 8-12
Learning about God
Today is Bible Sunday. It is a special day when we think about how we could know more about the Lord from the Bible. A long time ago, there was a priest called Ezra, and on the first day of the seventh month, he was asked to read what Moses said about how people should behave if they wanted to follow the Lord. All of the people gathered around him in the square to hear what he was saying. It took him about 5-6 hours to read the laws of God that they should follow. The people were very keen to hear what he was saying. They listened quietly and said 'Amen, Amen' when Ezra blessed the Lord. There were also other people who explained what the readings really meant.
When they heard what Ezra was saying, they knew that they hadn’t followed the Lord, so they became very sad and began to cry. But Ezra was a good person. He didn’t like to see them so upset, so he told them that it was a holy day and they shouldn’t cry or be sad. They should be happy because the Lord loves them and would them the strength to follow him. He said that they should go and get some food to eat and something to drink, enough for everyone, including all those people who were not able to get anything for themselves. Ezra knew that they wanted to be better, but that they were sad because they really did understand that they were not doing what the Lord wanted.
Lord Jesus. We thank you for the Bible which has lots of different stories from a long time ago. Please help us to understand what these stories really mean.
Sunday October 11th - A Story About a Wedding Feast
Jesus used stories to help people understand more about God and his kingdom.
In one of them, he tells the story of a king who prepared a special wedding feast for his son. The king invited many people to the feast and when it was ready he sent his servants to tell the people to come. But they refused to come to the feast so the king sent other servants. He said to them, ‘Tell those who have been invited that my feast is ready. I have killed my best bulls and calves for the dinner. Everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast!’
Despite this special invitation the people refused to listen to the servants and went to do other things. One went to work in his field, and another went to his business. Worse still, some of the other people grabbed the servants, beat them, and killed them. The king was very angry. He sent his army to kill the people who had killed his servants. And the army burned their city.
After that, the king said to his servants, “The wedding feast is ready. I had invited people who did not deserve to come so go to the street corners and invite everyone you see. Tell them they are welcome to come to my feast.” So the servants went into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad. The wedding hall was full to bursting with guests.
When the king came in to meet his guests he saw a man there who was not dressed in the right clothes for a wedding. The king said, ‘Friend, how were you allowed to come in here? You are not wearing the right clothes for a wedding.’ But the man did not reply so the king told some servants, ‘Tie this man’s hands and feet and throw him out into the darkness’.
Jesus ended the story by saying “Many are invited but only a few are chosen.”
For us in our everyday lives and times, Jesus is telling us to listen for God’s call and be ready and prepared to do what God asks us to do