You don’t have to be a star – God’s special messengers – Moses

Topic:

Moses

Aim

To help pupils understand that you don’t have to be ‘a star’ to be a leader.

Things you’ll need

A flipchart

Bible base

  • Exodus 2, 3; 4:10-16
  • 1 Samuel 16:7

Content

1 Tell the pupils that you are going to play ‘fantasy football’. Ask them the following questions, writing their suggestions up on the OHP as you go.

  • Choose four or five players who you would pick to play in the first eleven for England. Why did you pick those players?
  • What qualities would you look for in your team members?
  • Who would you choose for captain? Why?

Now ask the children to imagine that their team has a big match coming up. Is it important to know who the opposition are? How would it help to know what the opposition is like?

2 Talk about Moses. Explain that he was adopted. (Be sensitive. Remember that some of the children listening might not be living with their natural parents. Moses was given up out of love – his parents believed this would be best for him.)

Explain that he was brought up as a prince – Pharaoh’s son. He would have had the best in education and lived in comfort. Then it was discovered that really he was a Jew (the Jews were slaves to the Egyptians). From having everything and being highly respected as a member of Pharaoh’s family – a very important person – he went to being ‘a nobody’.

Tell the children about these aspects of Moses:

  • he was the son of a slave;
  • he was a murderer;
  • he couldn’t speak very well.

Now refer back to the qualities the children said they would look for in a team captain. Tell the children that this is the man God chose to be his team captain.

3 Talk about Moses as the captain of God’s team. He knew the opposition very well. After all, he had been brought up in Pharaoh’s home. He knew all about the powerful Egyptians. Point out that Moses must have had a lot of courage. He had to ask the man whose home he had lived in to let all the Jews go. He knew the power of the Egyptians and how important the Jewish slaves were to them.

4 Ask the children which ‘team’ they think was most likely to win: the disgraced, stuttering, son of a slave, Moses, and his team of slave labourers? Or, the powerful ruler, Pharaoh, and his strong team, the mighty Egyptians?

5 Say that the children might think that Pharaoh and the Egyptians would win easily. But Moses and his team had something special. Their team manager was God. And Moses had something else – a friend who worked alongside him. Talk about how Aaron, Moses’ brother, spoke for him, because Moses didn’t feel he could speak to Pharaoh himself.

Application

A Christian viewpoint

1 Talk about how you don’t have to be ‘a star’ to speak up for what is right, or to be brave enough to do what is right.

2 Talk about how sometimes it takes courage to believe in God and have faith in him, when others don’t.

For everyone

Encourage the children, like Moses, to stand up for what is right – even when it’s very hard or frightening to do so. Sometimes it helps to find a friend who will support you. Can they think of some times when they might need to stand up for what is right?

Response

1 Ask the children to think about leaders of the nation or local leaders. Ask them for suggestions (eg the prime minister, the police, their headteacher). Write their suggestions up on the flipchart. Lead the children in a prayer for those who are struggling to stand up for right, even though it might be hard.

2 Pray for people in leadership (like those listed on the flipchart).

3 Ask God for his help to be brave enough to stand up for what is right, even when others don’t.

 

Trust and obey – God’s special messengers – Abraham

Aim

To help the children think about who they trust and obey.

Things you’ll need

A chocolate bar (hidden before the assembly begins).

Bible Base

Genesis 12:1-9

Content

1 Ask for a volunteer. Give him/her instructions which will lead them to the hidden chocolate bar.

2 When the chocolate has been found, ask the children questions which will help them understand that the volunteer had to trust you and obey you in order to find the prize.

3 Tell the story of Abraham from Genesis 12:1-9. Explain that you are going to tell the story with various sound effects or actions, as follows:

  • Abraham (bow)
  • Sarah (curtsey)
  • sheep (‘baa’)
  • goats (‘maa’)
  • donkeys (‘eeyore’)
  • servants (‘yes sir, no sir’, bowing, hands together)

You could use the sound effects and actions to help you tell the story in either of the following ways:

  • Invite the children to the front to take the parts of Abraham, Sarah, the sheep, the goats, the donkeys and the servants. They must make/do their sound effects/actions at the appropriate point in the story.
  • Invite all the children to join in with the sound effects/actions.

The story:

Abraham and his wife Sarah were living in Haran (in Syria). Abraham was a very rich man. He had sheep, goats, donkeys and servants. Abraham liked living in Haran. He had good neighbours who had become good friends.

One day God told Abraham to leave his country, his relatives and his father’s family and go to a different land. God said he would show Abraham where to go. He said he would bless Abraham and make him famous. Abraham looked around Haran where he lived. He looked at his sheep, his goats, his donkeys and his servants. He thought about his neighbours (who had become good friends) Did he want to leave his home? No. Did he know where was he going? No. Would he ever come back to his neighbours (who had become good friends)? Maybe not.

God had told him to leave. He had promised to show him where to go. He had promised to bless Abraham and make him famous. Did Abraham trust God to show him this new land? Did he trust God enough to take his wife Sarah, his sheep, his goats, his donkeys and his servants and leave his neighbours who had become good friends? Did he trust God enough to set out on this long journey to an unknown land, with only a tent for his home?

Ask the children to put their hands up if they think he should stay or think he should go.

Abraham decided to trust God and obey him. He said goodbye to his neighbours, got together his sheep, his goats, his donkeys and his servants, not forgetting his wife Sarah (and his nephew, Lot) and left Haran. He trusted God to show him where to go. He trusted God to bless him and make him famous.

Abraham travelled until he came to Canaan (walk around). And Abraham settled in Canaan with his wife Sarah (and his nephew, Lot), his sheep, his goats, his donkeys and his servants. He put up his tent and before long he had new neighbours (who became good friends).

And God did make Abraham famous. He is still remembered today by Christians, Muslims and Jews.

Thank the children who have taken part.

Application

A Christian viewpoint

When Christians read this story in the Bible, it encourages them to trust God and obey him like Abraham did. Christians find out from the Bible what God wants them to do and how he wants them to live. They ask God to help them to obey him and do what’s right. Abraham had to trust God, although it wasn’t easy, and God did what he had promised.

Ask the children to think of something they know they should do to obey God – even though it might not be easy.

For everyone

Ask the children to think of a person they know they should obey (eg a parent, a teacher). Sometimes they might not understand the reason for or agree with what that person asks them to do. Remind the children how Abraham had to trust God– who he knew wanted what was best for him. It couldn’t have been easy, but he did what God asked.

Response

1 Ask the children to think of something they must do today, even though they will find it difficult.

2 You could use this prayer:

Lord God, when we know what the right thing to do is, please help us to do it. When it is hard to do what is right, please help us to trust you. Amen.

 

God’s special messengers – Amos

Topic

Amos

Aim

To help children understand that selfishness can seriously damage your health!

Things you’ll need

  • Blu-tack
  • 3 sheets of A1 paper
  • A length of wallpaper
  • A spirit level
  • A length of string with weight attached to make a plumb-line
  • A stick of coloured chalk
  • A few marker pens

Bible base

Amos 7:7,8

Preparation

Before the assembly begins, use Blu-tack to attach the A1 sheets of paper to a wall (so that they are visible to everyone), so that you make one large work surface. Also attach Blu-tack to the back of the piece of wallpaper ready for use during the assembly.

Content

1 Hold up the spirit level and ask the children if they know what it is and what it’s used for.

2 Ask the children what would happen if we didn’t build things level. Ask for two helpers. Tell them that you want them to check that the spirit level is working properly. Send them together to different parts of the hall/room you are meeting in, to inspect the window frames, door frames, shelves etc and check whether they are level. Get them to inspect four items. Have one child check two items, with the other reporting back to you. Then swap round and check two more items.

3 Explain that before the spirit level was invented, builders would use a length of string with a heavy weight attached to one end to give them a straight line. Show the children your plumb-line. Ask if anyone knows what it’s called.

4 Demonstrate its use in the following way:

a) chalk heavily along the length of the string;

b) ask someone to hold the end of the string against the sheets of paper attached to the wall;

c) when the weight has stopped moving, hold it still against the paper and ask a volunteer to ‘ping’ along the length of the line, so that you finish with a straight chalk line printed onto the paper.

Remove the plumb-line.

5 Ask for a few volunteers who think that they can draw a straight line free hand on the paper. Give them each a marker pen and ask them to draw a vertical or horizontal line (drawing over the chalk line doesn’t count!). Ask the rest of the children to judge which is the straightest line. Check their choice with the plumb-line or spirit level. Give a round of applause to the person who gets nearest to straight.

6 Use the chalk line (if it’s still there) or draw a new vertical line as a guide for hanging the sheet of wallpaper. Explain that you are going to put up this piece of wallpaper using the line you’ve drawn to make sure that it goes up straight. Line up your paper, then press it onto the wall.

7 Explain that if you continued to paper along this wall, all the pieces of wallpaper would be straight, just because of that one line. (Don’t mention papering around corners!)

8 Tell the children about Amos, one of God’s special messengers, and his message from God about a plumb-line.

Nearly 3,000 years ago, the prophet Amos had a sad job of work to do for God. As a prophet, he had to give messages to people about how God wanted them to live and what he wanted them to be like. Sometimes this was very difficult to do.

9 At this point read, or ask someone else to read, Amos 7:7,8. Then continue telling the children about Amos:

God showed Amos a plumb-line, just like we used, to show that the wall that had been built was straight. God was saying through Amos that it was as if he was measuring his special people, the Jews, against a plumb-line.

Remind the children that a plumb-line helps you get things right and see when things aren’t quite right. Ask the children for their ideas about why God would compare his people to a plumb-line.

10 Explain that the Bible says that God had given his people a way of living which was the very best for them, and they had agreed to live that way. Ask the children to imagine that the plumb-line represents that way of living. Now move the piece of wallpaper so that it’s crooked, and say that the piece of wallpaper represents the people.

11 Pointing to the crooked wallpaper, ask the children who (or what) has moved. (Answer: the wallpaper.) Or – in the case of God and his people – the people had moved away from the straight line. They had decided to do things their own way and had chosen to ignore God. They were no longer on the level. Their ways were not straight! They were moving away from God. God knew this and told Amos to show the people this picture of the plumb-line to help them understand what they were doing and how sad it made God.

Application

A Christian viewpoint

  1. The Bible says that God’s people had promised to obey him and live the way he said. Like most of us, they thought they knew what was best and decided to ignore God’s rules for living. Through his messenger Amos, God said that there would be very serious consequences for everyone who carried on breaking their promises to him, doing things that hurt him and other people.
  2. It’s the same for people today. God has given us good rules for living. If we ignore them and insist on living our own way, we hurt ourselves and other people.

For everyone

Compare the plumb-line to the rules of the road. The Highway Code says you must stop when the lights are red. Some road-users take a risk and ‘jump’ a red traffic light, hoping that they will get away with breaking the rule. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. Accidents happen because people choose to disobey the signals (or rules). Or you might get caught on camera and then be prosecuted by the courts. These things happen because people choose to break the rules, which are there to protect everyone. Explain how the plumb-line is a bit like those rules.

Response

  1. Ask the children to look at the crooked piece of wallpaper – which should still be on the wall. Ask them to follow the line of the paper from top to bottom.
  2. Now ask them to think for a few moments about what their school (home, local community, country etc) would be like if we all chose to ignore the rules.
  3. Straighten the wallpaper and ask them to think again about the difference it makes when we try to live life ‘on the level’.