Focus Passage: John 16: 12-15
Memory Verse: “When the Spirit of truth comes he will guide you in all the truth.”
Items for Preparation
-Prepare a set of index cards so that each child can have two. One will say in green or blue writing “TRUE!” The other will say in red writing “FALSE!” Children will use the cards to judge the things you say, learning in the process how they can tell when something is true or not.
-Prepare a set of statements you can say out loud in front of God and everybody in worship. Let some of the statements be true. Examples: The sky is usually blue, with maybe some clouds. Jesus’ mom’s name was Mary. The first book of the Old Testament is Genesis.
Let some of them be false. Example: It is easiest to make an A on your math test if you do not practice your math problems at all. The four gospels in the New Testament are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Leviticus. Jesus began the Lord’s Prayer by saying, “Our Father, who art in Hawaii, hallowed be thy name.”
Let some of them be a little uncertain. Examples: Chocolate always tastes better with a little ketchup. It is okay to be mean to somebody if they are my enemy. I am never going to get married when I grow up.
The idea here is to put children in the predicament of knowing clearly some T/F statements, but having to grapple a bit and disagree with others. The best way to produce this is to have opinion-type statements such as the chocolate one. Who knows? Maybe a kid does dip M&Ms in ketchup. It takes all kinds. So get several statements ready in each category.
Read the adult lesson in the print edition of Nurturing Faith and additional material online. We all have an inner sense of the truth, an intuition we can trust and which God’s Spirit can strengthen and guide if we allow it. We can demonstrate our passage by acting out this instinctive ability to know truth.
[Give a set of cards to each child.]
Say: We all hear things every day at school, at team practice, having fun with friends, or watching TV, and we know when we hear them that they are not true. Tell me: have you heard something in the last day or so that you knew was not true? Wait! Don’t answer that! We don’t want to hear the untrue stuff you have heard! Yuk! Please, just raise your hand if you have heard some nonsense, something that you knew was not true. [Allow for answers by way of handraising.]
Say: Okay, since you are good at telling the difference between true and false things, let’s play a game. When I say something, you hold up your card to tell me if you think it’s true or false. Ready?
[Now begin with your statements, and mix up the three categories as you go. Allow kids time to hold up their T/F cards each time. You can go as fast as the traffic will allow, and make this fun. If it devolves into a laugh-fest, your work here is done.]
Say: How do you know what is true? We each have something that God put inside every person, and it tells us when we are hearing the truth or when we’re hearing something false. It is partly conscience, partly wisdom, partly a feeling or sense you get. It is called discernment. Say that word after me: Discernment. It means your ability to know what is true and good, what is right, even when the question is hard.
Say: Jesus promised to send us a Holy Spirit who helps to guide us toward what is true. When we are unsure, the Spirit is with us and in us, helping us know how to be Jesus-followers, how to know the truth. Jesus also said a wonderful thing to his friends: You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Ah.
Prayer: Say these words after I say them.
O God of truth,
Help us be wise Jesus-followers
By sending your Holy Spirit.
Grant us discernment
And guide us to the truth
Which can set us free
In Jesus’ name, Amen.