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The Bible Club

Children's Liturgy and Story
Call to worship:

Jesus said, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch." In our worship today let us pray for courage to venture out from the safety of our church into deep water so that we may put down our nets for a catch.

Invitation to confession:

Lord Jesus, sometimes we cling to the boat and are afraid of the deep.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, sometimes we are so concerned for ourselves that we fail to trust you.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, give us courage and teach us how to swim in the deep waters of life.

Lord, have mercy.

Reading:

Luke 5:1-11
Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, [2] he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. [3] He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. [4] When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch." [5] Simon answered, "Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets." [6] When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. [7] So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. [8] But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!" [9] For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; [10] and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people." [11] When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

Story:
It takes courage to venture out into the deep waters of life, but even when there, it's no use letting down our nets if there are no fish. We need Jesus to point us in the right direction at the right time and to give us the courage to fish.

This is a story about Ginny, who gathered up her courage but who poured it into the wrong direction until through her friend, Jesus gently nudged her in the right way.

The Bible Club

Ginny was fired up with enthusiasm. At church on Sunday she'd heard a missionary from Papua New Guinea and she now knew exactly what she wanted to do when she grew up. She wanted to be a missionary, because it was such a dangerous and exciting life and you got to go abroad to exotic places. It sounded like great fun. But the missionary had urged them all to start now, to begin to spread the word about Jesus in the place where they were right now.

For Ginny, that was school and it was a scary thought. Nobody else from school went to her church and most of her classmates ridiculed and laughed at anything to do with religion. Religious Education classes were the biggest yawn of all time and most of the kids just messed around. Ginny had never admitted to her church attendance as she had no wish to be classed as "sad."

But now that was all behind her. If she was going to be a missionary she had to develop plenty of courage. She took a deep breath and waded in with her plan. She decided to start a Bible club. She designed a flyer on her computer at home and printed off a hundred copies. Then she handed them out to everyone who came near her and took the jeering with a stoical smile, even though she felt like kicking the jeerers.

Ginny twisted the arms of her two closest friends to support her, although she had the feeling that neither of them were very happy about it. Then she spent ages preparing an evening of Bible fun, with quizzes and games and lots to eat and drink. Then the three of them waited for people to arrive. They waited and waited and waited.

Nobody came.

Ginny felt angry and disappointed and fed up, all rolled into one. She could scarcely look her friends in the eye for she dreaded seeing the pity there.

"Never mind, Ginny," said one friend, consolingly, adding lamely, "They're just stupid."

But the other friend was more robust. "Come on," she said. "Let's forget it. Let's go down the disco and have some fun."

Ginny was about to refuse as befits a future missionary, when she suddenly thought, 'Why not?' With all that work and no response whatsoever, she might just as well forget God forever and go out and have fun.

Accordingly the three girls got ready in double quick time and slipped into the disco, which was already in full swing. They had a great time and Ginny relaxed and began to really enjoy herself. Then she noticed Marie sitting alone at a table at the end of the room. Ginny sauntered over and sat down.

"Hi, Marie," she said. "You OK?"

To her dismay, tears welled up in Marie's eyes and began to overflow.

"What's up?" asked Ginny, gently.

Between sniffs and hiccups Marie began to tell Ginny all that had happened to her. Marie's Gran had died recently and Marie's mother was still upset about it, which meant that Marie had to look after her younger brothers and sisters and do a lot of the chores. To cap it all, Marie had failed her physics exam. And now nobody wanted to dance with her.

Ginny listened in silence then she reached out and squeezed Marie's hand. After a bit she said, "I'll give you a hand with your physics, if you like. We could study together."

Marie gazed at her in disbelief. "Would you really?" she asked.

"Of course!" said Ginny, and she had the feeling that this was an important moment for both of them.

After that, Ginny forgot the Bible Club completely and discovered that she suddenly felt very happy indeed.

Activity:

You need:

A large deep tray filled with sand or soil
Some foil-wrapped, chocolate money

A packet of cocktail sticks
Paper, coloured pens, scissors, glue.

"Plant" the chocolate money all together in the tray of sand, then smooth over the surface so that no-one will know where the "treasure" is.

Get the children to make flags using the cocktail sticks and paper. They may like to colour them for various countries, or alternatively using their imagination. Each child should make one flag.

Tell the children that treasure is hidden on the beach of a desert island (the tray of sand). Explain that each of them has one chance to find the treasure. They should stick their flag into the tray of sand at the point where they think the treasure might be. Don't allow anyone to cheat by prodding or poking!

When all the flags are in the sand, each child can dig gently around his or her flag (but only round his or her flag), to see if they can find the treasure. When the treasure is found, encourage the winner to share the treasure amongst all the children.

Point out that it's sometimes difficult to make the right decisions. If we simply go our own way we often get things wrong. But Jesus sees the big picture so if we ask for his help, then open ourselves to him as much as we are able, he will help us to get things right.

Prayers:

Discerning God, show us when we are going our own way and nudge in the right direction. Prevent us from wasting our energies putting effort into schemes which don't have your blessing, but guide us in what we should do.

Discerning God, our world is so often in a mess because different groups of people have different ideas and everyone is certain that they are right. Give to those in authority the grace to listen to others and the understanding to determine the right way forward to benefit all human beings.

Discerning God, give us the strength to stand in the world and the wisdom to know right from wrong. May we be courageous enough to stand up for our beliefs but sensitive enough to guide other people towards you.

Discerning God, we pray for those we know who are ill or confused or sad or lonely. May they know the comfort of human support and your loving, healing power. We name them in our own hearts, holding each one in your presence...

Blessing:

May God give you the courage
to be firmly planted in this world.
May God give you the sensitivity
to respond to the needs of this world.
May God give you the discernment
to be in the right place at the right time.
And the blessing of God Almighty,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
be with you,
be in your homes and in your families,
with those whom you love
and with those for whom you pray
both now and always.
Amen.
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